A Younger Look May Mean Living Longer

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Have you ever had someone ask your age, and then be shocked at your response? "You look so young! I never would have guessed it!" I used to hear those comments all the time before I had kids, but I think the lack of sleep and stress of children has aged me a little. It's definitely been worth the tradeoff, but now a new study reveals that looking younger may mean you live longer.

The University of Southern Denmark did a study of twins over the age of 70. They were photographed, and then took various physical and cognitive tests. The study tracked the twins for 7 years, and found that perceived age was associated with survival. The older-looking twin was more likely to die before the younger-looking one. The research also showed a relationship between perceived age and physical and mental capabilities.

According to the study, "Perceived age—which is widely used by clinicians as a general indication of a patient’s health—is a robust biomarker of ageing that predicts survival among those over 70 and correlates with important functional and molecular ageing phenotypes." So basically, a younger look may mean a longer life.

What do you think? Have you noticed anyone in your own life who has a younger look and better health?

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Everyone always says how young my parents look. My students are often shocked I'm in my mid twenties, they seem to think 18 year olds can teach now *facepalm*. Maybe there's something in this genetics business-hope I look as good as my parents when I hit 50! Report
Everyone always says how young my parents look. My students are often shocked I'm in my mid twenties, they seem to think 18 year olds can teach now *facepalm*. Maybe there's something in this genetics business-hope I look as good as my parents when I hit 50! Report
How much of our age...what we look like and how we feel...is regulated by our thinking? Report
I am 70 and people always seems surprised by it. I have to show my ID for Senior discounts. I am happy to look younger. I remember trying to look 21 when I wanted to get into clubs back in the day. I had to show ID long into my 30's.
My mother is 86 and don't look or act it. Very healthy and activity..
To look good is nice, but the most important thing is to be healthy long into my senior years. Report
My dad got carded at McDonald's when he tried to buy senior coffee - he was in his early seventies. My mom is now 80 and looks (and acts) like she's at least 10 years younger. I'm fortunate to have such good genes, and am grateful for it everyday. The info in this article is wonderful! Report
The study really makes me feel good. I am 81 going on 82 and many do not believe that is my age. I certainly enjoy the compliments and with SparkPeople helping me to stay healthy I hope they continue for many more years. Report
Interesting! Both my mother and grandmother always looked younger than their age. My grandmother lived to be 94, and my mother is 85 and still going strong. Myself, I was "carded" for buying liquor when I was 28 - that was the last time so I'm remembering it :) One more reason to look after myself to enjoy a healthy life however long it may be. Report
My mom is 92 but looks about 70! She eats healthy and also goes to water aerobics 3 times a week -- I think that her youthful appearance has led to a longer life for her. She has fun telling people her age - they'd never guess it. Report
There's one colleague who looks like he's at least in mid-thirties but he's actually mid-forties! Maybe because he always smiles but I know that he's one of the fittest in our team. You can say that when he's wearing shorts, it's worth to ogle at his legs, haha. Report
I like this article because people often think I'm younger than my chronological age. Since I feel younger than my chronological age, I'm always glad to hear that my mind and my 'look' are in sync! Thanks for the good news ... Report
I am an Internal Medicine Physician, and I have a very significant number of 85-95 year old patients who are remarkably vital and healthy, and I have known many of them for almost two decades. Some of this is obviously "good genes". Interestingly, I have previously commented that those individuals never look like they have aged and most of them looked young for their age when I met them. But a common factor is that they have all taken great accountability for their health......some are overweight but none are obese, they all exercise regularly, eat well, and have continued to work and engage in social activities well after "retirement" age. In fact, my former wifes mother is now 88, looks 75, lives independantly.......and is dating a 96 year old man who looks 80 and is perhaps one of the vital and interesting men I have ever spoken with!
I have noticed that at age 51, I do look much younger than many of my patients of the same age, but usually, it is because I am also healthier and have avoided the usual problems associated with heavy drinking, smoking, and sedentary lifestyle. (P.S.- with the 25 lb weight loss I have had since joing Spark, the only medical issue that I had, High Blood Pressure, is resolved and I am on no medication). When they say "you are only as old as you feel" it likely means that you have never given in to the "older things" in life like too much stress, too little exercise, too much food, alcohol, and tobacco,and....too little optimism that you can make things better if you just are willing to try a bit harder. Report
My entire life I have never looked anywhere near my age. In Nov I turned 50 and when I tell people their comments are: you have got to be kidding me and shut up you couldn't possibly be that old or you really look very good for your age and when I grow up I want to look that good at that age. I almost tend to agree with this study because my mother is 85 and does not look anywhere near her age but the real kicker is my grandmother (mom's mom) who is 101 and will be 102 in March and really does not look her age and is still in her right mind and gets around very well. Report
I am now 53 and I think that I look it. There was a time when I thought that I looked younger than my chronological age. Report
Some co-workers I am around. But what I have noticed, at risk of sounding purely chauvanistic, is that after raising a couple of children and going through the stress of life--when a woman begins to get herself in shape at 40 plus an inner beauty in the eyes, far beyond the physicality emerges which is not present anywhere else. Report
My mom looks really good for her age. People think my daughters are my sisters, and when I took my granddaughter to see Santa, he thought I was her mom! I know he wasn't flirting with me because Mrs. Clause was sitting next to him! LOL!
I agree that genetics does play a part but usually a person has done something that has contributed to them looking older than their age, such as too many parties (alcohol & drug abuse), too much sun, and generally unhealthy living. Report
I am 34 years old but some people think i am in my twenties.
one of my husbands brothers thought i was 16.

I'm 27 years old and I still get people asking me if my 6 yr old daughter is my little sister or what grade I'm in. So, I could appreciate something like that! The stress of my crazy daughter hasn't affected me physically as much as I thought! Report
I absolutely believe that a positive outlook on life and your age factored with good genetics and a healthy lifestyle will indeed give you the opportunity to live a much longer life span. Report
Interesting study- although I would like more clear clinical data.
For instance- is it also 'dressing' younger, and keeping hair styles up to date and such? Because we tend to respond on a subconscious level to how other people expect us to act, and this is such an ageist society.
Plus- so many people LIE about thier ages, that those of us who tell the truth can get that 'shocked' look. I was in the insurance wold for 11 years, and looked at ID's all the time- really knew their ages. It made me practically clairvoyant as far as other peoples ages.
On the other foot- I put in an ad for dating- and was pretty dismayed by how old looking some of my respondents were.
55, just starting to drink of the fountain of age, and loving it. Report
My husband who has had Type 1 diabetes for 41 years has physicians who expect him to appear to be 15-20 years older (and suffering vascular complications even those w/out diabetes experience at those ages) than his chronological age of 44; yet our doctor continually thinks he appears about 20 years younger. He also has no vascular disease and normal cholesterol. I think my husband's propensity to dye his hair red and wear heavy metal band t-shirts helps the image. Report
When I turned 60, the teachers I was working with were amazed. They thought I was turning 50! And Mom, who always looked MUCH younger, made it to 100. Report
I hope this is true. I got carded at the grocery store a few days before my 44th birthday, and my 19yo son, who was behind me unloading the shopping cart, thought it was hilarious.

So did I. I do not look 21, but I'd like to think I could pass for 39. Report
I believe this is true. A very good friend who has a positive outlook on life looks much younger than her actual age and does things of much younger people. For example we skydived (sydoved?) on her 84th birthday. We both had a blast. Report
Wow. This is a very interesting blog. I'm told all the time that I look younger than my age. I'm 43 and I often have people say that they thought I was 33. I've been told this all my life. Even into my 20's I would get asked for an ID to get into places like bars (not that I go to those anymore! lol). I get it from my Mother's side of the family. All the women in her family, including my Grandmother, looked younger than their age. But, in line with this blog, my Mother's family all tend to live to be a 'ripe' old age... into their 90's mostly. Report
I look alot younger its kinda funny because I work really close to a college and some freshman is always inviting me out. I ask them how old do I look and I get like 19 20. I got carded at a nightclub and the guy scanned my ID 5 times and put it under a blacklight because he thought I had a fake ID LOL. Aww very flattering to this 27 yr old mama of 3. Report
I have always had people tell me that I don't look my age. So that's a good thing. Report
A couple of years ago on our customary outting to celebrate my sister-in-laws birthday, 4 of us girls stopped at a wings place and ordered beer with our wings. The gal taking the orders asked to see our drivers license. We all looked at each other since the youngest of the group was in her 40's, and I and another grabbed our cell phone...I called my son and said " Honey, your Mommy just got carded" Then our bubble was busted when we found out it is the law to card no matter "what" age they look. Oh, but for a moment we were all floating high.........LOL!!!!!!!! Report
I wonder what is cause and which is effect... Report
My mom looks very young for her age; she is in very good health and is in her 70's. She had Non Hodgkin's lymphoma 6 years ago; had a rough year, but she beat and is cancer free today.

I am 46, and also look very young for my age. But despite that, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003, which returned in April 2007. I have been living with stage IV breast cancer for over 2 years now; but who knows, maybe looking young has helped me to survive so far, even if it didn't keep me from getting cancer. Report
When I was in my late 20's, I had a meeting at a different high school, and my meeting was running late so they said go to the cafe for a cup of coffee. When I was there they asked me for a pass from my teacher!!! People always think that my husband and I are younger than we are. We both have good genetics, and try to eat right and get some exercise. Report
My family on both sides have always looked younger than their age. My Dad was 74 when he died of Cancer. My mom who looks young is 87 soon to be 88. I look younger than 60. I hope to live longer but have smoked for 34 years before quitting. I can't say that's really a factor. Report
Im NOW told sence I have lost the weight that I dont look 50yrs old yet let alone act like it.PLUS I seen a study of some what the same with twins. One twin smoked all her life-the other never did. The other twin had weight problems & not the other. To make the story short in the pic's it looked like mother & daughter NOT the same age women.OH YES I'm glad I at last lost the weight & look younger than I did when I was 20yrs old.Go see mypage & my before & after pic's say's it all!! ..Thanks.;-) Report
People seem really surprised when I tell them that I am 45, my friends laugh and continually tell me I look like I am in my 30's. Now whether that is because I have young children or just good genetics, I am not sure. But I make sure to get my 8 hours of sleep every night and drink my water (I don't care what the studies show - I have noticed a difference in my skin when I don't get all my water in that day). I have lost a 1/3 of the weight I need to so far and I am working on the other 2/3's. Report
I am always being told I look about 10 years younger than I am. Although at 26, I do not enjoy people thinking I'm 16!! but maybe one day I will appreciate, probably the day before it all goes away! lol Report
Interesting. My grandma is 81, but acts at least 20 years younger. I always say I hope I'm like her when I get older! She has more energy than me, I think. But she takes good care of herself (always has), is relgious, involved in community activities, has hobbies, and has a positive attitude always. These factors can really influence how well you age, I believe, along with genetics (her parents both lived beyond 100 years old). Report
As a 60 year old, I like to think about the phrase attributed to Satchel Page: "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?" Put even more simply, if we take care of our bodies better, they will take care of us. Report
This is very interesting! Since I've lost my weight people tell me all the time I look like I'm in my 20's and I'm 41, and my Mom who will be 69 next month, people always say she barely looks 50! Good stuff! Report
People have always underestimated my age significantly (12 at 18, etc.) despite my weight (105 at 18), but now, as a senior citizen, losing my round face has made me gaunt and almost sick-looking. And that's at 20 pounds above the maximum indicated on the insurance chart for me. My husband, who has always supported my weight loss, suggested tapering off after I had lost 80 pounds because of the effect. Several occasional acquaintances have asked if I was sick. The problem is that I lose weight in my face, hands, and feet, but not my mid-section where the health benefits would be greater. Report
I used to get comments on how young I look, but after this last year I am feeling like I look my age. Starting to get the lines at the eyes and the grey in my hair, so I am a firm believer in the stress adding age statement. Report
My mother and I both fit this bill. She's in her mid 80's and looks 65. I'm 50 and get told all the time I look like I am in my 30's. My mother is still going strong, physically and cognitively, and she has bounced back quickly after 2 surgeries in the past 3 years. I've even blogged "I want to be my mommy when I grow up". My father has always looked his age, and has had lots of physical problems in the past 20 + years. Report
I read about this. This is great for me. People say I look like a kid or a teenager all the time. Report
Yes, but whast if we don't look younger? Does this mean we're doomed to die soon? Report
Genetics play the biggest part in how young you look.

In the twin study, stress will age you faster then anything so it's a chicken and the egg. Did looking older reflect poor health outcome; or did poor health outcome age your skin? Report
Hmmmm maybe this is the hope behind those liposuction and botox jobs? NOT! I agree that such a perception of another MAY indicate they will live longer and at what age one perceives this is also a factor, among many others.
Kat Report
Happy toehar this as people are always shocked to learn of my age. Report
This article was really interesting to me. First because people who meet me for the first time are astonished that I'm in my 50's. Second because I am a twin and most people who meet us think that I'm a younger sister. My twin is really thin (too thin in my opinion-~105 pounds on a 5 foot 6 inch body), yet I know she is in great health. Report
I feel that there are multiple factors that influence the results of the study. If one twin smokes and the other does not then the one who does not smoke will not only look younger they will be in better health because they do not smoke. This analogy can be applied to many aspects including maintaining a healthy BMI. Report
I look very young for my age, I'm 26, but people tend to think I'm still 16-18. It used to bother me, especially as I am a nurse practitioner and some patients think I look too young to know anything! LOL, but now I enjoy it, I know that in another 10 years, when I look in my 20's, I'm really going to be pleased, and so on :) I'm also, I think, in excellent health. I'm *never* sick, and while I do get tired after a long day/week like everyone else, I feel that I have so much more energy than I see in others around me. BTW, my mom is almost 50 and looks more like my sister than my mother.

TREESA57~ Happy Birthday!! Report
Looking younger is a bonus at times. Sure hope to appreciate all the compliments and live a good life. Age is only a number. Report