Don't count on good genes to keep you alive

Chris Miller
November 12, 2018 - 12:40 pm

Living longer may have less to do with genes and more to do with your lifestyle. 

A study published in the journal Genetics finds that lifestyle, not genes, is the biggest determiner of how long we live.

"There are a number studies that show heritability of longevity account for anywhere from ten to 30 percent," said Dr. Lucio Miele, Head of Genetics at LSU Health New Orleans. Dr. Miele says that means that even if your grandmother lived to 108 years old, it's a good idea to eat right, exercise, and not smoke.

"People who live to 100 and more, what they have in common is relatively low stress and an extremely healthy diet," he said. 

Dr. Miele says that's also good news for anyone who's hereditary traits may indicate a shorter life: "Even in the presence of...genetic risk factors, a healthy lifestyle has a very large effect."

So the doctor says you can't count on your genes to save you from your unhealthy diet or bad habits.

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