/publications/issue/2003/2003-02/2003-02-7113

How Old Are Your Parents?

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Adults with at least 1 parent who lived to be at least 100 years of age have a much lower incidence of heart disease and fewer major heart risk factors than adults whose parents died in their 70s, according to a November 2002 American Heart Association study.

The average life expectancy for someone who makes it to age 20 is 73. So the study focused on 2 groups of adults at or close to 70. In the control group, all parents of the members died in their 70s. Those in the study group had a parent who lived past 100 years old. The study found that only 26% of those in the study group had high blood pressure, compared with 52% in the control group. For heart disease, the figures were 13% versus 27%.