8 habits that slow ageing by up to 6 years

While there's no miraculous anti-ageing elixir just yet, American scientists have announced 8 health measures they say will slow the body's ageing process by as much as 6 years. The findings are based on a study of 6,500 adults and have just been presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions conference in Philadelphia.

Life's essential 8: a new way to look at health behaviours

Biological ageing may be slowed significantly when people adopt the following 8 health behaviours:

  1. Maintaining a healthy weight
  2. Monitoring blood sugar levels
  3. Keeping an eye on cholesterol levels
  4. Regulating blood pressure
  5. Maintaining a healthy sleep pattern
  6. Engaging in regular physical activity
  7. Adhering to a nutritious diet
  8. Quitting smoking

Researchers studied a large group of adults' 'phenotypical age' and discovered that individuals in the study who had the best cardiovascular health were biologically about 6 years younger than their chronological age (which indicates the rate at which they aged for each year lived).

Phenotypic age is the gap between one's biological age and chronological age, with higher values indicating faster biological aging.

Donald Lloyd-Jones, the chair of the writing group for "Life's Essential 8," said, "These findings help us understand the link between chronological age and biological age and how following healthy lifestyle habits can help us live longer."

To gauge a person's phenotypic (biological) age, the researchers assessed their metabolism, organ function, and inflammation.

Even after adjusting for social, economic, and demographic factors, the researchers established that possessing a high "Life's Essential 8" score, denoting good cardiovascular health, was associated with a biological age 6 years lower than the chronological age among study participants.

For instance, individuals with good cardiovascular health had an average chronological age of 41, but their average biological age was 36. In contrast, those with poor cardiovascular health had an average chronological age of 53, but their average biological age was 57.

The study participants with high cardiovascular health had a negative phenotypic age acceleration — meaning that they were younger than expected physiologically. In contrast,  those with low cardiovascular health had a positive phenotypic age acceleration — meaning that they were older than expected physiologically.

If you know your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and height and weight, you can take the Essential 8 heart health check online (you'll need to register your email).

If you want to know more about simple lifestyle swaps for longevity gains, download Citro's free longevity guide.

The information on this page is general information and should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Do not use the information found on this page as a substitute for professional health care advice. Any information you find on this page or on external sites which are linked to on this page should be verified with your professional healthcare provider.

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