Century Mark Within Reach for Many

Healthy habits boost chances of living to 100, even with illness
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2008 9:50 AM CST
Rosa McGee, 104, sits inside her daughter's Chicago apartment with her Bible, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008. A recent study has found that reaching the age of 100 has gotten easier. McGee is one of the healthy...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Even people with heart disease or diabetes can hit the century mark if they take care of themselves, two new studies say. The trick for living to 100 is managing illness well enough to stay independent. "It's kind of a threesome: get more years, better years, and better function," the lead author of one study told the Boston Globe.

In that study, Harvard researchers observed 2,357 elderly men for 25 years and saw 970 make it to at least 90. Those with good habits and in decent health were 54% more likely to get there; sedentary, overweight smokers had only a 4% chance. The other researchers found that one-third of their 739 subjects functioned relatively well despite suffering from age-related disease.