Monday, May 5, 2014

Being Too Thin May Kill You

I saw a piece on 60 Minutes last evening on longevity. They featured a study  that had been done on a group of folks who had reached their 90's and above and were still active. This particular group of people provided great insight because 30-40 years ago they had been censused and examined for another study. So the earlier findings could be used as a base for the current study.

The idea was that the 90 and above age group is multiplying faster than any other age group in the country but no one really knows much about their health because up until now living up into yours 90's was not the norm. It was always assumed that what we knew about health in general applied to them.

The findings were interesting. Yes, exercise helps - but one only needs to do as little as 15 to 30 minutes a day to make a difference (and that does not need to be intense). Smoking will set one back. Drinking (wine or liquor) daily in moderation was a plus. Relationships and social interaction were very important. Obviously genetics play an important role, but we have no control over the hand we are dealt at birth. They had interesting facts on Alzheimer's and dementia which were fascinating - the former not having as much to do with age as we think. 

While everyone should watch their weight as we age, according to this story - being thin is not good. Those who had more weight on them (but were not obese or over weight) lived longer.

All the participants in the study they interviewed were positive, happy, and living an active life. It was quipped about one lady that she had outlived her computer. There were couples still married after all this time. (They deserved some type of award and a study of their own.) There were also widows and widowers and some in both of those groups talked about dating. 

When Leslie Stahl was interviewing a couple who were "seeing each one another" they told her they saw each other six days a week, but took one day off. Then Leslie commented that the gentleman said there was one thing no one ever brought up in the study - their sex life. When she asked them about it, the lady blushed and they both just chuckled. Then the camera showed pictures of the ball room at the retirement community with couples dancing to "Save the Last Dance for Me." 

So always looking at the cup half full, I walked away realizing 30 minutes a day of exercise will keep me from feeling guilty, a drink or two a day may help me age well, having good friends will help carry me into my 90's, being too thin is a bad thing after all (there is a God), and we all need sex. Who knew? Well these folks in California who retired in their 60's and are still going thirty years later do.

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