As Centenarians Multiply, Scientists Pursue Clues to Oldest Age. Hint:
It's Not Just Genes
The tattoo on Lloyd Brown's right arm, marking his tour on the USS New
Hampshire, is faded. But his memory of the day he was sworn into the
Navy is not.
"Yep, April 6, 1918," he says, clearly pleased with his powers of
recall that at other times have proven a bit spotty. The military
records his daughter, Nancy Espina, keeps in a scrapbook at Brown's
home in Charlotte Hall, Md., confirm the date.
The message was underscored by a 2001 study of 34,000 Seventh-Day
Adventists in California. After tracking participants for 12 years
beginning in the 1980s, researchers linked five common Adventist
lifestyle practices -- such as regular exercise, a vegetarian diet and
consumption of small servings of nuts five to six times a week -- to a
longer-than-average life expectancy.
Scientists calculated that the life expectancy of a 30-year-old
vegetarian Adventist woman was 85.7 years, and 83.3 years for a
vegetarian Adventist man. This exceeded the life expectancies of other
Californians by 6.1 years for women and 9.5 years for men.
"This was a group of people that were doing everything our mothers
tell us to do, except for cleaning our plates," said Perls.
Meanwhile, life expectancy fell nine to 10 years for Adventists who
were overweight, former smokers and non-vegetarian, and who did not
exercise or eat nuts regularly.
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