Why Your Mother’s Lifespan May Predict Your Health

Researchers suggest that maternal genes strongly correlate to longevity.

A new study finds that daughters may age like their mothers both inside and out. The way a mother ages may offer a glimpse into her daughter’s lifespan and health. To examine this link, researchers collected data from 22,735 postmenopausal women over a roughly 20-year span. The results revealed that women have a 25 percent increased likelihood of living past their ninth decade without serious disabilities or chronic illnesses if their mothers did as well. If both the mother and father maintained their health to age 90, the daughter’s likelihood of doing the same rose to 38 percent. However, the researchers did not find an increased chance of longevity in women when only the father lived to 90, which emphasizes the role of maternal genetics. The study did not look at the effect on sons.

While you cannot control the genes you inherit, you can control your environment and lifestyle choices. Your genes may have a stronger influence on your longevity, but you do have the opportunity to alter certain factors in your life to increase your lifespan. You can gain a healthy advantage by continually making good habits and choices, such as eating nutritious meals, exercising regularly, attending regular doctor appointments, and surrounding yourself with positive people. These activities and lifestyle choices can impact your DNA by switching genes on and off, which is known as gene expression. Dr. Orli Etingin concludes, “The take-home message is that you can’t do anything with the hand of cards you got dealt. Your genes are your genes, maybe one day we can change that, but right now we can’t. Spend a lot of time on how you play that hand – that’s the lifestyle you choose to live.”  Regardless of your mom’s lifespan, make healthy choices to live your best life. 


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