Volney Kavanaugh loves sharing snapshots of his life. He turned 100-years-old, last year. They even named a street after him. Next year his younger sister may have a party of her own. "January 13th she will be one hundred years of age," says Volney. "And she's still kicking."
The Kavanaugh's aren't alone. A new study shows brothers and sisters of people over 100 live an average of 16 years longer than the rest of the us. "The brothers actually had a 17 times greater chance of getting to 100 themselves and the sisters about an eight and a half times great chance," says Dr. Thomas Perls, a Geneticist.
The reason is that siblings share genetic and environmental factors the rest of the population may not. They probably have genes that protect them from diseases like Alzheimer's and stroke and cancer because the centenarians they live the vast majority of their life in excellent health.
Mr. Kavanaugh learned a long time ago as a boxer, genes aren't' the only secret to long life. "Keeping away from tobacco, keeping away from alcohol, keeping away from wild women," he says, not to mention a healthy diet and a loving wife.
While genes are important, Dr. Perls stresses a healthy lifestyle. He says most of us die ten years earlier than our genes are capable of. He notes that keeping your weight down, not smoking, and eating healthy could help you live up to twenty years longer.
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