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Framingham Study Shows Parents Who Live Long Pass On Lower Risk of,Cardiovascular Disease

BETHESDA, Md., March 13, 2007--New evidence suggests that if you could choose your parents, you could reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers from the long-standing Framingham Heart Study (FHS), a program of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, report that people whose parents live longer were more likely to avoid developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease in middle age than their peers whose parents died younger. They also found that the risk factor advantages persisted over time.

According to the researchers, this is the first study to examine cardiovascular risk factors in the offspring of longer-lived individuals using independent and validated measurements of risk. The findings are consistent with other studies that have linked lower cardiovascular risk with parental longevity based on self-reports of family history.

"Characteristics of Framingham Offspring Participants with Long-Lived Parents, appears in the March 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

In the study, researchers examined 1,697 offspring age 30 and older (average age 40) whose parents participated in the original FHS and had reached age 85 or died before January 1, 2005. They compared cardiovascular risk factors among the offspring based on whether both parents, one parent, or neither parent lived to 85 years or older. The risk factors included age, sex, education, cigarette smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol, and body mass index (BMI). In addition, they compared the offsprings' Framingham Risk Scores, a summary score based on the combined contribution of traditional cardiovascular risk factors.

In general, the group in which both parents survived to age 85 had significantly fewer participants with high blood pressure or who were current smokers, compared to those in which both
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