While we all knew that a person’s physical health reflected on a person’s lifespan, we didn’t know that a person’s body size - height and weight has more effects on a woman’s lifespan than a man’s. Published in the online Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, the findings indicated that despite the fact, physical activity is linked to longevity in both sexes, the more time men spend being physically active add to their chances of reaching old age, while 60 minutes a day was associated with the best chance for women for longevity.
The findings also said that despite the fact average life expectancy has risen over the years; it has been plateauing in the recent few years in some developed nations.
Women’s and men’s lifespan is influenced by factors like hormones, genes and or lifestyle. The study explored these differences by analyzing data from the Netherlands Cohort Study (NLCS), which included more than 1,20,000 men and women aged between 55 and 69 when it began in 1986.
The researchers wanted to know if there was any link between weight, height, leisure time physical activity and the likelihood of reaching the age of 90.
The study saw 3,646 men and 4,161 women between the ages of 68 and 70 providing detailed information in 1986 regarding their current weight and height when they were 20, and their leisure time physical activity.
Participants were then monitored until death or the age of 90, whichever came first. Researchers considered potentially influential factors, such as whether the participants were current or former smokers, their drinking capacity, educational qualifications, and energy intake.
The study team observed that 16.7% of the men and 34.4% of the women survived the age of 90. It also found that women who were alive by the age of 90 were on an average taller and weighed less at the start of the study and had put on less weight since the age of 20, than those who were shorter and heavier. However, no such associations were seen among the men.
The study researchers, pointed out that it is an observational study and therefore can't establish the cause. They add that their study is one of only a few to differentiate lifestyle factors potentially associated with long life between men and women.