Parental longevity reduces risk of heart disease in their children.

The longer parents live, the less the risk of their children, developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease in middle age compared with their peers whose parents did not live long, according to new evidence from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) 1. Evidence from the study, a program of the National Heart Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health also indicates that this advantage persist over time.

This new study published in the March 12 2007 issue of the journal, Archives of Internal Medicine, is the first to examine cardiovascular risk factors in the offspring of longer-lived persons that used independent and validated risks assessments, the results consistent with those of other studies based on self-reports of family history. Indeed, previous research has implied that delay or avoidance of cardiovascular disease and their risk factors plays a key role in longevity.

The FHS has been ongoing since 1948 and has contributed immensely to our understanding of many diseases and their correlates. It is now broadening its scope and examining how genetic factors influence cardiovascular disease and the use of new biomarkers and diagnostic tests to identify persons at increased risk. This is no doubt, a significant development considering that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and indeed, in many other countries, worldwide.

Thus, the study might ultimately provide insights into other factors that favor outstanding longevity, and indeed into those that promote survival after heart disease. There is no doubt about the potential profound policy implications of these researches, in particular in our efforts to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases and others, linked to age.


1. Terry, DF, Evans, JC, Pencina, MJ, Murabito, JM, Vasan, RS, Wolf, PA, Kelly-Hayes, M, Levy, D, D’Agostino, RB, Benjamin, EJ. Characteristics of Framingham Offspring Participants With Long-lived Parents. Arch Intern Med. 2007; 167:438-444.