People may be getting sick and dying at a younger age than they used to, although some people seem to have found the legendary Fountain of Youth. But people who live to 95 or older are no more virtuous than the rest of us in terms of their diet, exercise routine or smoking and drinking habits–they just have the right GENES.

Older men even LIKE THEIR BODIES more than younger guys do (so they’re probably still enjoying sex). "Nature" (in the form of protective longevity genes) may be more important than "nurture" (lifestyle behaviors) when it comes to living an exceptionally long life. In an ongoing study that seeks to understand why centenarians live as long as they do, researcher Nir Barzilai interviewed almost 500 Ashkenazi Jews who were living independently and were 95 and older, 75% percent of whom were women). He chose this group because they are descended from a small founder group and are thus more genetically uniform than other populations, making it easier to spot gene differences that are present.

The elderly participants were asked about their lifestyles at age 70, considered representative of the lifestyle they’d followed for most of their adult lives. They answered questions about their weight and height so that their body mass index (BMI) could be calculated. They also provided information about their alcohol consumption, smoking habits, physical activity, and whether they ate a low-calorie, low-fat or low-salt diet. To compare these long-lived individuals with the general population, the researchers used data from 3,000 people who had been born around the same time as the centenarians.

Overall, people with exceptional longevity did not have healthier habits than the comparison group in terms of BMI, smoking, physical activity, or diet. For example, 27% of the elderly women and an equal percentage of women in the general population attempted to eat a low-calorie diet. Among long-living men, 24% drank alcohol daily, compared with 22% of the general population. And only 43% of male centenarians reported engaging in regular exercise of moderate intensity, compared with 57% of men in the comparison group.

Barzilai says, "This study suggests that centenarians may possess additional longevity genes that help to buffer them against the harmful effects of an unhealthy lifestyle. (But) although this study demonstrates that centenarians can be obese, smoke and avoid exercise, those lifestyle habits are not good choices for most of us who do NOT have a family history of longevity."

If the oldsters in YOUR family all died fairly young, it’s time to face the fact that you need to LOSE WEIGHT, and we’re here to help! You need to download Anne Strieber’s famous diet book, "What I Learned From the Fat Years." Using scientific principles, she devised a diet that helped her to lose 100 pounds and YOU CAN TOO.

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