According to a study of more than 2,000 people, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a healthy 70-year-old who had never smoked, had normal blood pressure and weight and exercised up to four times a week had a 50 per cent chance of living until 90.
That was cut to 44 per cent if he did not exercise, which fell to just over 33 per cent if he had high blood pressure and lowered down to 25 per cent if he was obese. Smoking further cut the chances of living to 90 to 20 per cent.
A combination of three or more of these factors reduced the chances of a long life to 14 per cent and having all five gave men just a five per cent chance of living to the age of 90.
The men who lived longest were also more likely to report themselves to be in good health and had better mental well-being than the men who died earlier.
About 25 per cent of the variation in lifespan is determined by genes, therefore 75 per cent can be determined by lifestyle.
Lead researcher Laurel Yates said, ''Our results suggest that healthy lifestyle and risk management should be continued in elderly years to reduce mortality and disability.'' In another study, it was revealed that men who lived to 97 or more tended to live in better physical and mental health than women who reached the same age.
One explanation for this might be that men must be in excellent health or functionally independent to achieve such extreme old age.
Women on the other hand may be better physically and socially adept at living with chronic and often disabling health conditions.
UNI XC SYU RS1629