They often say ‘like father like son’ but when it comes to longevity, it is the mother/ daughter relationship that is important.
Women whose mothers live to the ripe old age of 90 are much more likely to reach the same age, according to a new study.
Researchers found daughters were 25 per cent more likely to become a nonagenarian if their mother had reached the same age.
The findings, published in the journal Age and Ageing, show that the women were also less likely to suffer from illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and hip fractures.
Having a father that reaches 90 does not have the same correlation, according to the study.
But if both parents lived to 90, the likelihood of their daughter achieving a long life with good health jumped to 38 per cent.
Researchers analysed 22,000 postmenopausal women participating in a national study to investigate major risk factors for chronic diseases among women.
It is believed genetics, environment and behaviours that are passed on to the younger generations may influence their ageing.
The women in the study whose mothers lived to at least 90 were also more likely to be college graduates, married with high incomes and exercised regularly while heating a health diet.
Study first author Doctor Aladdin Shadyab, of the University of California, San Diego, said: “Achieving healthy ageing has become a critical public health priority in light of the rapidly growing ageing population in the United States.
“Our results show that, not only did these women live to age 90, but they also aged well by avoiding major diseases and disabilities.
“It’s not just about the number of candles on the cake. These women were independent and could do daily activities like bathing, walking, climbing a flight of stairs or participating in hobbies they love, like golf, without limitations.
“We now have evidence that how long our parents live may predict our long-term outcomes, including whether we will age well, but we need further studies to explore why.
“Although we cannot determine our genes, our study shows the importance of passing on healthy behaviours to our children.
“Certain lifestyle choices can determine healthy ageing from generation to generation.”