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The term longevity comes from the Latin longaevus, the adjective longus (long) and the noun aevus (belatedly) and refers to time, age or life span. Thus, the term longevo is applied to a person of advanced age, just as longevity can be applied to the quality of living longer.

There are different factors that can influence longevity, including both genetic factors and environmental factors, such as diet, lifestyle habits and even aspects such as birth order or the mother’s age at birth.

In terms of genetic factors influencing longevity, it has been shown that variations in the FOXO3A gene may be closely related. This was initially observed in Japanese men and has been tested in all other populations including Europe.

Factors related to longevity

Diet: this is one of the most studied factors influencing longevity, although many aspects of how and to what extent it influences it remain to be clarified. Both experimental data and evidence from observational studies suggest that dietary calorie reductions of 30-40% of total requirements would promote longevity. This is not to say that poor diets or restrictive diets should be practised. The diet should be balanced and contain all the nutrients necessary to carry out all the functions of our body: carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins, as well as minerals and trace elements. On the other hand, even more than the quantity, the type of food would have a relevant influence on longevity, being preferably recommended in this sense the most natural foods, less processed and free of toxins (natural and artificial).

Physical activity: is fundamental to maintaining a healthy life and by extension to longevity. Studies and observations in long-lived communities suggest the need for sustained daily physical activity as long as it does not exceed the individual’s capacity, as this would lead to harmful overtraining. Physical activity is understood in a general way, including sport, work, or simply the walking we do on a daily basis.

Sleep and rest: rest provides optimal repair and readjustment of vital mechanisms and processes. Restful sleep has rhythmic characteristics and does not depend so much on its duration in time as on its quality. Centenarians report having restful sleep and do not generally have sleep disorders.

Heredity: individual characteristics have a hereditary basis in the structure and functionality of organs and systems, as well as metabolic processes at the cellular level, which are exposed to the negative effects of stress. In long-lived communities, although it is not possible to speak about the exact relationship between heredity and centenarians, it is common to find long-lived people who come from relatives who have also been centenarians. On the other hand, there are certain hereditary diseases that can promote and accelerate the ageing process. Among the most common are diabetes and among the rarest and most striking is progeria, a pathology in which individuals age more rapidly and at 10 or 20 years of age are completely old.


  • FOXO3
  • CDKN2B-AS1
  • IGF1R