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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Study Finds Reproduction Later in Life is a Marker for Longevity in Women

Women who are able to naturally have children later in life tend to live longer, and the genetic variants that allow them to do so also might facilitate exceptionally long life spans, according to a new study co-authored by a team of Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) biostatisticians.

The study, published in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society, says women who are able to have children after the age of 33 have a greater chance of living longer than women who had their last child before the age of 30.

The study was based on analyses of data from the Long Life Family Study (LLFS) — a biopsychosocial and genetic study of 551 families with many members living to exceptionally old ages. Boston Medical Center is one of four study centers that make up the LLFS.

The study investigators determined the ages at which 462 women had their last child, and how old those women lived to be. The researchers found that women who had their last child after the age of 33 had twice the odds of living to 95 or older, compared with women who had their last child by age 29.

The findings also indicate that women may be the driving force behind the evolution of genetic variants that slow aging and decrease risk for age-related genes, which help people live to extreme old age, the researchers said.

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