Taking eight health measures may slow the body’s ageing process by six years, research suggests.
These are keeping body weight, blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure in check while maintaining a healthy sleep regime and diet, doing regular physical activity and not smoking.
Scientists have said that following these steps – known as Life’s Essential 8 – promotes good heart health, which in turn may slow the pace of biological ageing.
The analysis, presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2023 in Philadelphia, is based on data from more than 6,500 adults with an average age of 47.
The researchers said those with good cardiovascular health were about six years younger biologically – the pace at which the body has aged for every year alive – than their chronological age.
Donald Lloyd-Jones, a past president of the Heart Association who has been involved in the study, said: “These findings help us understand the link between chronological age and biological age and how healthy lifestyle habits can help us live longer.”
Life’s Essential 8 – the association’s health assessment tool – was launched last year, aimed at defining heart health based on four lifestyle measures and four health markers. To measure a person’s phenotypic – or biological – age the researchers checked their metabolism, organ function and inflammation.
They said having the highest Essential 8 score – which also means having high cardiovascular health – was associated with a biological age of around six years younger.
For example, the average actual age of those studied with good heart health was 41 and their average biological age 36. The average actual age of those who had poor cardiovascular health was 53, though their average biological age was 57.
Senior study author Nour Makarem, of New York’s Columbia University, said: “Reduced biologic ageing is not just associated with lower risk of chronic disease, but also with longer life and lower risk of death.”
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