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How likely is it that you live to 90? Depends on your gender and body size

ATLANTA CNN: to live until the mature age of 90 years can depend on the size of your body, both of stature and weight, as well as your level of physical activity, and it seems to influence more in the life of a woman than in that of a man, according to a new study published Monday in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, a BMJ journal.

The study found that women who lived to be 90 years old were, on average, taller and had gained less weight since the age of 20 compared to women who were lower and heavier. No such association was observed for men. However, men saw more benefits from physical activity than women.

While the study is observational and can not establish a cause, the findings "provide interesting clues that the health of men and women could respond differently to BMI, height and exercise," said epidemiologist David Carslake, associate researcher from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. Who did not participate in the study. The BMI, which represents the body mass index, is a measure of body fat based on a calculation of height and weight.

In 1986, researchers asked more than 7,000 Norwegian men and women between 55 and 69 about their height, current weight and weight at the age of 20. Both genders also told researchers about their current physical activity, which included walking dogs, gardening, home improvement, walking, or riding a bicycle to work and sports. Men and women were classified into daily activity quotas: less than 30 minutes, 30 to 60 minutes, and 90 minutes or more.

The groups were monitored until they died or reached the age of 90; Of the 7807 participants, 433 men and 994 women lived up to that age. Problems that could affect longevity were also taken into account, such as current or previous tobacco consumption and the level of alcohol consumption.

The men and women in the study obtained very different results in relation to the impact of body size and exercise.

Women who weighed less at 20 and gained weight as they got older were more likely to live longer than heavier women. Height played an important factor: the study found that women who were more than 5 feet and 9 inches were 31 percent more likely to live in their 90s than women who were less than 5 feet 3 inches.

Neither the height nor the weight seemed to take into account if men reached 90 years, but the level of activity. Men who spent 90 minutes a day or more being active were 39 percent more likely to live at 90 than men who were physically active for less than 30 minutes. In addition, for every 30 minutes a day that men were active, they were 5% more likely to reach that age.

However, women who were physically active for more than 60 minutes a day were only 21 percent more likely to live at 90 than those who did 30 minutes or less. And unlike men, there was no advantage in increasing activity. In fact, the study found that the optimal level of activity for women was 60 minutes a day.

The average life expectancy has increased in most of the world, but recent studies show a deceleration of this trend in some developed nations. In the USA For example, life expectancy has been decreasing in recent years. Drug overdoses and suicides are to blame for the most recent decline, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the leading causes of death remain the same. Heart disease, cancer and stroke, three of the main killers of Americans, are affected by weight gain and lack of exercise.

"It is now very clear that overweight, obesity and sedentary lifestyles are detrimental to health," said Carslake. "Studies like this, which examine the form of associations and ask if they are the same in different groups … will be increasingly important."

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