Barzilai and colleagues wrote in the online edition of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, released for publication on Wednesday morning, that “people with exceptional longevity are not distinct in terms of lifestyle factors from the general population,” which has to work hard over many years to stay healthy. But they were not healthier at an earlier stage in life, according to measurements of their weight, physical activity and other lifestyle factors. Instead, their genes have protected them and they apparently “interact with environmental factors differently than others.”
In the general population, lifestyle factors play a bigger role in human longevity than genetic factors, and those who lack longevity genes can add up to eight years by living according to these rules.
Those who inherit the good genes don’t have to, Barzilai said, and can escape chronic disorders usually linked to poor lifestyle choices.