Good eats, but not too much
Walter Breuning, who recently died at age 114 in Great Falls, Mont., widely was recognized as the world's oldest man. One of his secrets to a long life was staying trim by limiting himself to only two meals each day. Not enough seniors follow his example, says Timothy Harris, author of the book Living to 100 and Beyond.
"We are seeing in the current older age population more disabilities resulting from obesity," says the insurance actuary. "There really has not been a decrease in the future life expectancy at higher ages, but there has been a leveling off, especially apparent in females, which would indicate that obesity has eliminated improvements in mortality."
Excess weight and poor diets typically have their roots in youth, he says. Today's children "are going to have health problems at an earlier age. They are going to have diabetes at an earlier age. There is more potential for a reduction in their life expectancy."
In addition to eating moderately, Harris recommends a diet of organic foods and avoiding anything with additives. Lombardo, author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness, says diet plays an important role in determining how long and how well you live. Good nutrition "is absolutely vital," to a full and happy life, she says.