In a study of men with an average age of 71 years, lifestyle factors such as never smoking, maintaining a healthy diet, and not being obese were associated with survival and high functionality over the next 16 years.
The study included 1104 men who completed a questionnaire. High functionality was defined as preserved ability in personal activities of daily living and cognitive function.
Additional studies are needed to investigate whether lifestyle changes after the age of 70 years may also lead to preserved independence.
The findings are published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.