Living to Be 100 May Depend on Mom

Monday, November 20, 2006; 12:00 AM

MONDAY, Nov. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Your chances of living to 100 may depend on how young your mother was when she gave birth to you, say U.S. researchers.

A team at the University of Chicago found that people born to women younger than 25 were about twice as likely to live for a century or longer than people born to older mothers.

The findings were presented Sunday at a meeting of the Gerontological Society of America. The research was previously presented in April at a meeting of the Population Association of America.

The study of 198 centenarians born in the United States from 1890-1893 found that first-born children were more likely to live to 100 than later-born siblings. After further analysis, the researchers concluded that this longevity advantage among first-born children was largely linked to the fact that they were born when their mothers were in their teens or early 20s.

The U.S. National Institute on Aging and the Society of Actuaries funded the study.

Between 1990 and 2000, the number of centenarians in the United States increased from 37,000 to 55,000, according to the Census Bureau. Women are three to five times more likely than men to reach 100 years, experts say.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers advice for healthy aging.

SOURCE: Gerontological Society of America, news release, Nov. 19, 2006

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