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hs reunionIf you’ve been to your high school class reunion, you’ve likely noticed that people age differently, some a lot more than others. There are those who look “great” for their age and those whose years of stress are pretty visible.

A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team from the United States, United Kingdom, Israel and New Zealand introduced a panel of 18 biological measures that may be combined to determine whether people are aging faster or slower than their peers.

This landmark longitudinal study followed 1,000 people born in 1972-73 and took health markers like liver function and blood pressure as well as health questionnaires over the time span. As with most longitudinal studies, all 1038 participants did not complete the study with enough information to be included or dropped out. Additionally 30 of them died before the age of 38 due to accidental deaths, drug overdose, cancer, suicide, and congenital defects.

signs of agingAlthough many studies that focus on aging are geared toward seniors, this type of study shows the possibilities of how medicine can help slow the aging process and give people more healthy active years.

Researchers noted that people who appeared to look older scored worse when it came to intelligence, strength, and balance tests. Those that smoked had worse signs of aging inside and outside the body. Those who exercised regularly and ate healthy had less signs of aging. Experts noted that environmental factors play a role in the aging process as well.

Bottom line is healthy living includes daily exercise, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, avoidance of smoking and alcohol and 6-7 hours of nightly sleep.

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