Scientists have revealed the top three lifestyle choices needed to live to 100 – and they don’t include quitting alcohol or losing weight.

Health experts in China found that not smoking, exercising more and eating a varied diet were the most important factors for living to a century.

They said that education, marital status and alcohol consumption in later life made no significant difference to lifespan.

Those who live in the city have just as much chance of hitting 100 as those who reside in the countryside.

And a higher body mass index (BMI) score in later life might actually help someone to live longer, even if they spent their younger years trying to shed pounds.

The world's oldest living person, Maria Branyas, from Spain, who turned 117 in March 2024

The world's oldest living person, Maria Branyas, from Spain, who turned 117 in March 2024

The world’s oldest living person, Maria Branyas, from Spain, who turned 117 in March 2024

The world's oldest man is Briton John Tinniswood, who will celebrate his 112th birthday on August 26 2024

The world's oldest man is Briton John Tinniswood, who will celebrate his 112th birthday on August 26 2024

The world’s oldest man is Briton John Tinniswood, who will celebrate his 112th birthday on August 26 2024

The oldest living person is Maria Branyas, from Spain, who is 117 years old.

The world’s oldest man is Briton John Tinniswood, who will celebrate his 112th birthday on August 26. He has previously attributed his long life to a fish supper every Friday.

Researchers, from Fudan University in Shanghai, say their findings demonstrate the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, even at a very advanced age – and insisted it is never too late to improve.

Special lifestyle improvement strategies should be designed for those in later life, they added, and the benefits of healthy living should be promoted to people of all ages.

They also urged policymakers to devise a new BMI scoring system that takes age into account, so people know the benefit of being heavier later in life.

The researchers studied detailed data on 5,222 people aged 80 and over. Of those, 1,454 had reached the age of 100.

Each person was given a ‘healthy lifestyle score’ (HLS) from 0 to 10 based on their self-reported smoking, drinking and exercise habits, plus the variety of their diet and their body mass index (BMI).

A person’s BMI can be calculated by dividing their weight in kilograms by their height in metres squared. It can give a rough estimate of whether someone is overweight or underweight.

The study, published in the journal Jama Network Open, found that those with a higher HLS were considerably more likely to reach 100.

People who had never smoked, always exercised regularly and maintained a balanced diet stood the best chance.

The researchers wrote: ‘Moderate alcohol consumption was not necessarily related to adverse health outcomes and higher BMI may have a protective role in mortality risk in older populations.

‘This brings up a critical question of whether the assessment of healthy lifestyle behaviours should be customised in different age groups.

‘Specifically, BMI for individuals at very advanced ages may reflect potential malnutrition and other chronic conditions rather than being an indicator of lifestyle.’

Source: Mail Online

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