Objective To identify modifiable factors associated with longevity among adults aged 75 and older.
Design Population based cohort study.
Setting Kungsholmen, Stockholm, Sweden.
Participants 1810 adults aged 75 or more participating in the Kungsholmen Project, with follow-up for 18 years.
Main outcome measure Median age at death. Vital status from 1987 to 2005.
Results During follow-up 1661 (91.8%) participants died. Half of the participants lived longer than 90 years. Half of the current smokers died 1.0 year (95% confidence interval 0.0 to 1.9 years) earlier than non-smokers. Of the leisure activities, physical activity was most strongly associated with survival; the median age at death of participants who regularly swam, walked, or did gymnastics was 2.0 years (0.7 to 3.3 years) greater than those who did not. The median survival of people with a low risk profile (healthy lifestyle behaviours, participation in at least one leisure activity, and a rich or moderate social network) was 5.4 years longer than those with a high risk profile (unhealthy lifestyle behaviours, no participation in leisure activities, and a limited or poor social network). Even among the oldest old (85 years or older) and people with chronic conditions, the median age at death was four years higher for those with a low risk profile compared with those with a high risk profile.
Conclusion Even after age 75 lifestyle behaviours such as not smoking and physical activity are associated with longer survival. A low risk profile can add five years to women's lives and six years to men's. These associations, although attenuated, were also present among the oldest old (≥ 85 years) and in people with chronic conditions.
2012. Vol. 345, e5568- p.