Most of the time when we think about our chances of developing a disease or condition, we look to our parents. If a man’s father, grandfather, and great grandfather were bald, there is a good chance he will eventually go bald too. If a woman’s mother, aunt, and grandmother all have lots of wrinkles, it is a pretty safe bet that she assumes she, too, will have wrinkles. What if the correlation between our parents’ longevity and our own was linked just like wrinkles or hair-loss? The study below suggests that people whose parents live past their life expectancy are more likely to live longer and are less likely to develop cancer. Looks like now there is another reason to hope our parents live to a ripe old age!

A study from 1992 to 2010, which included 9, 764 people in America, concluded that people who had a long- lived mother or father were more likely to live longer along with a 24% less chance of getting cancer. The study compared patients who had parents that lived longer compared to those who had parents who lived to an average age for their generation. Long-lived mothers were classified as those who lived past 91 years old, compared to those who reached an average of 77-91 years of age. Those who were long-lived fathers lived over the age of 87 compared to an average of 65 to 87 years. 

Mortality rated dropped up to 19% for each decade that a parent lived past the age of 65. For children whose mothers lived past 85 years mortality rates dropped 40% and those with fathers who also lived past 85 years mortality dropped 19% (More adverse lifestyle factors were believed to be more common in fathers).

There have been previous studies which have shown that children with parents who lived past 100 years old tend to live longer along with less heart diseases but this is the first study to show, with evidence, that children with long- lived parents are less likely to get cancer, diabetes or suffer a heart attack. Evidence also showed that the resistance of inheriting an age-related disease lowered as the parents got older.

The group of scientists included Kenneth Langa, M.D., Ph.D, a professor of internal medicine at U-M Medical School as well as the associate director of the U-M-based Health and Retirement study. There were also doctors from the University of Iowa such as Robert Wallace, Dr. Jean-Marie Robine from the National Institute for Health and Medical Research in France (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médical) and David Melzer of the University of Exeter Medical School.


All information taken from