This One Thing Will Help You Live to 100, New Study Says

A new study from Washington State University found that where you live could help add years to your life.

For many people, living to 100 is the ultimate goal, but becoming a centenarian is a byproduct of multiple variables. You've probably heard that longevity has a lot to do with good genes and a healthy lifestyle, but a new study found that there is more to it than that. Recent research conducted by scientists at Washington State University's (WSU) Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine found that where you live can have a significant impact on how likely you are to reach the big 1-0-0. So, what's the ideal environment? Highly walkable, mixed-age communities.

"Aging has been attributed to be only 20–35 percent heritable," the authors wrote in the study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. "Social and environmental factors, such as high educational attainment and socioeconomic status, also significantly contribute to longevity."

The study particularly found that people who live in highly walkable, mixed-age communities tend to be more likely to live to their 100th birthday. "Protective factors for becoming a centenarian were higher walkability index and living in areas with a higher percentage of working age population," the authors wrote. According to the research, people with a high probability of living to 100 tended to live in geographic clusters in urban areas and smaller towns with higher socioeconomic census tracts.

Older couple on a walk

The study adds to existing evidence that social and environmental factors contribute heavily to longevity. According to study author Rajan Bhardwaj, a WSU medical student, "These findings indicate that mixed-age communities are very beneficial for everyone involved. They also support the big push in growing urban centers toward making streets more walkable, which makes exercise more accessible to older adults and makes it easier for them to access medical care and grocery stores."

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Additionally, "neighborhoods that offer more age diversity tend to be in urban areas, where older adults are likely to experience less isolation and more community support," the study's senior author Ofer Amram, an assistant professor who runs WSU's Community Health and Spatial Epidemiology (CHaSE) lab, said in a statement. So if you're looking to live to 100, set your sights on a location that enhances your quality of living. And for more health tips, check out 40 Tiny Health Adjustments That Can Change Your Life After 40.

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