A recent study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions suggests that following a checklist of healthy behaviors could potentially slow down the biological aging process. The checklist, known as Life's Essential 8, was created by the American Heart Association and includes recommendations such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight.
The study, conducted by researchers at Columbia University, assessed over 6,500 participants who self-reported their adherence to the checklist. The participants' weight, cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure were also measured, and their phenotypic ages were calculated. Phenotypic age is a measure of biological age that takes into account factors such as metabolism, inflammation, and organ function.
The findings revealed that those who adhered most closely to the checklist had a biological age that was, on average, six years younger than their chronological age. On the other hand, those with the worst adherence had an average biological age that was four years older than their chronological age.
According to the lead researcher, Nour Makarem, adhering to the checklist can have various benefits, including prolonging the number of years without illness and reducing the risk of premature death. She emphasizes that even gradual changes in lifestyle can have a meaningful impact on heart health and the aging process.
While this study provides promising insights, experts caution that further research is needed. Longitudinal data, gathered by measuring the same individuals over an extended period, would provide more comprehensive insights into trends and changes over time. Additionally, monitoring adherence to the checklist could potentially help doctors assess a person's rate of biological aging and intervene early to prevent health issues.
In conclusion, adhering to a checklist of healthy behaviors, such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, and not smoking, may have a positive impact on biological aging. While this study offers encouraging findings, more research is necessary to fully understand the long-term effects and potential benefits of following such guidelines.