"It's not just luck, it's not just genetics. ... It's lifestyle" that seems to make a big difference, said lead author Dr. Laurel Yates of Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital.
"It's get your shoes on, get out there, and do some exercise," she said. "These are some things you can do" to increase the chances of a long life.
Yates said it's never too late to adopt a healthier lifestyle, though the findings don't address whether waiting until age 70 to stop smoking, lose weight and exercise will increase longevity.
Hall noted that the United States has more than 55,000 centenarians, and that Americans 85 and older are the country's fastest-growing group of older adults.
He said the new research underscores how important it is for doctors to become adept at treating the oldest of the old, who are "becoming the bread and butter of the clinical practice of internal medicine."
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