ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Returning to the Road Tricky After Injury
Get in Step With Summer Foot Care
CANCER
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
CAREGIVING
Caring for Aging Loved Ones Can Be a Catch-22
ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
DIET, NUTRITION
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
Compound in Red Wine Fights Ravages of Age
Soluble Fiber, But Not Bran, Soothes Irritable Bowel
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Global Warming May Bring More Respiratory Woes
Rainy Areas in U.S. Show Higher Autism Rates
Global Warming Biggest Health Threat of 21st Century, Experts Say
EYE CARE, VISION
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
FITNESS
Barefoot Best for Running?
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Maximize Your Run
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Play Creatively as a Kid, Be a Healthier Adult
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
MEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
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The Healthy Habits of Centenarians



Looking for the secret to the fountain of youth? Alas, there is no real way to stop the aging process.

But studies on people who live into their nineties and beyond offer several clues that may play a role in living longer and enjoying a high quality of life at a ripe old age.

Studies of twins suggest that environment, diet and lifestyle combined have a far greater influence than genes in how long you live. In fact, about 75 percent of known longevity factors are in your control.

Though there is no one formula, several lifestyle behaviors can influence longevity and physical and mental well-being. These involve eating well, exercising and using strategies to reduce stress, keep your mind active and stay positive.

By taking charge, you can have a real impact on your health and well-being. To improve your chances for a long healthy life, adopt some of the following habits of healthy, active centenarians - people who have lived well into their 10th and 11th decades:

Mind what goes into your body. Centenarians tend to eat well (but not overeat), refrain from smoking and drink moderately (or not at all). Your best bet is to choose wholesome foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and a variety of fatty fish or fish oil supplements for a dose of omega-3 fats. These foods provide the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber that can help prevent chronic disease and keep weight and blood pressure in check. Some animal studies have also shown a link with calorie restriction and longer life. More research is needed, though, to see how this may affect humans.

Get moving. Experts agree there is no gray area when it comes to moving your body. Exercise is a proven way to prevent or delay many conditions like obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis and heart problems. It can also ease arthritis pain, anxiety, stress and depression, which can all affect the aging process. Exercise also helps to reduce weight and blood pressure - factors shown to have a major impact on mortality.

Use your brain. Centenarians tend to engage in new and different activities and hobbies as they age. This may involve a second career, volunteering, taking up a musical instrument, writing or travel. Things that involve concentration, like crossword puzzles or reading, are often helpful.

Connect. Having a network of friends is part of the recipe for staying healthy. Whether this is through your church, family, volunteer work, leisure activities or community, it's important to find someone and something you can connect with. This feeds into the desire to be needed and can give you a sense of purpose and belonging. Feeling connected can also help to reduce stress.

Be faithful. There is a link between religion - no matter what faith - and better mental health and well-being, research suggests. High levels of religious belief appear to help older adults in overall coping abilities and their positive outlook on life. Further, prayer - like meditation or yoga - may calm you, help lower blood pressure and bring "inner peace."

Practice attitude and gratitude. People who live past 100 are generally better at handling stress and managing their emotions. They don't dwell on things that cause stress in their lives. Good mental health goes hand-in-hand with good physical health. Having good humor, feeling gratitude and a positive attitude are important, too. Try making a list of things you're grateful for to generate positive energy.


SOURCES:

* National Institute of Health. Prayer and spirituality in health: ancient practices, modern science. Accessed: 02/18/2009

* Curlin FA, Sellergren SA, Lantos JD, Chin MH. Physicians' observations and interpretations of the influence of religion and spirituality on health. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2007;167(7):649-654. Accessed: 02/18/2009

* Yates LB, Djoussé L, Kurth T, Buring JE, Gaziano JM. Exceptional longevity in men. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2008;168(3):284-290. Accessed: 02/18/2009