Mother’s life span determines how long daughters will live, how healthy they will be

Women whose mothers live up to the age of 90 are more likely to have increased lifespan, without suffering from any serious illnesses like cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, a study has found. The study, published in the journal Age and Ageing, also found that if the father lived to 90, it did not correlate to increased longevity and health in daughters.

However, if both the mother and father lived to 90, the likelihood of the daughter achieving longevity and healthy aging jumped to 38%, researchers said. “Our results show that, not only did these women live to age 90, but they also aged well by avoiding major diseases and disabilities,” said Aladdin Shadyab, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California — San Diego in the US.

The study analysed data from about 22,000 postmenopausal women participating in the Women’s Health Initiative, a large, national study in the US investigating major risk factors for chronic diseases among women. Shadyab and colleagues believe a combination of genetics, environment and behaviours passed to subsequent generations may influence ageing outcomes among offspring.

“We now have evidence that how long our parents live may predict our long-term outcomes, including whether we will age well, but we need further studies to explore why. We need to clarify how certain factors and behaviours interact with genes to influence aging outcomes,” Shadyab said.

The women in the study whose mothers lived to at least 90 were more likely to be college graduates, married with high incomes and incorporated physical activity and a healthy diet into their lives, researchers said.

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First Published: Aug 18, 2018 13:05 IST

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