The Relationship of Fertility, Lifestyle, and Longevity Among Women
Johnson, Mary Ann
Longevity in women has been found to be associated with several reproductive factors; the age of women when they give birth, their total number of children, and the age at which they experience menopause. In the context of expectations from the evolutionary theory of aging, the focus of this study examined relationships between lifetime reproduction, age at menopause and longevity, while accounting for various lifestyle factors. The purpose of this study was to assess fertility and age at onset of menopause in 197 women of the Georgia Centenarian Study. It was hypothesized that greater lifetime reproduction would predict earlier menopause and subsequently an earlier death. An independent t test was computed to assess ethnic differences between Caucasian and African American participants. Two block-wise multiple regression analyses were computed to evaluate the impact of low socioeconomic status in childhood, the age at the time of the first childbirth, the total number of children, smoking and alcohol use, incidence of heart disease and stroke, and the age at onset of menopause on longevity. Results from this study suggest a positive association between the total number of children to the age at onset of menopause and longevity. However, when considering the lifestyle factor of smoking, the association of the total number of children to longevity is diminished.
This article is published as Lockhart PA, Martin P, Johnson MA, Shirtcliff E, Poon LW. The Relationship of Fertility, Lifestyle, and Longevity Among Women. Journals of Gerontology: Biological Sciences, 2016, 72(6); 754-759. Doi: 10.1093/gerona/glw158. Posted with permission.