Men and women above the age of 90 are now the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population. There are currently nearly 2 million nonagenarians in the U.S. and that number is projected to quadruple by 2050. A research study launched in 2003 by UC Irvine and the National Institute of Health set out to learn more about the “oldest old” Americans and determine the factors associated with longevity.
After surveying more than 1600 participants, the 90+Study revealed:
- People who drink moderate amounts of alcohol or coffee live longer than those who don’t.
- People who are moderately over weight in their 70s live longer than normal-weight or underweight individuals.
- People who exercise definitely live longer than people who don’t exercise. As little as 15 minutes a day on average made a difference, with 45 minutes being the ideal.
- Socialization and engaging in non-physical activities (book clubs, board games, etc.) all contribute to living longer.
- Taking vitamins and supplements did not show to have an effect on longevity.
- More than 40% of people aged 90 andover suffer from dementia while almost 80% are disabled. Both are more common in men than women.
- The risk of developing dementia doubles every 5 years starting at the age of 65, and it keeps on doubling, even past age 90.
- People aged 90 and older with an APOE2 gene are less likely to have clinical Alzheimer’s dementia, but are much more likely to have Alzheimer’s neuropathology in their brains.
Researchers believe that understanding more about the over 90 crowd will help 60- and 70-year-olds not just learn how to become 90, but how do it with style and fun. So go ahead and enjoy that slice of pie, that cup of coffee, and that glass of wine. Just remember to keep socializing and exercising while you’re at it!