First-Born Daughters More Likely to Live to 100, Suggests Society of Actuaries Research

Nov 03, 2005, 00:00 ET from Society of Actuaries

    SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Predictors for exceptional human
 longevity may include birth order, place of birth and early-life living
 conditions, according to a recent Society of Actuaries (SOA) study that
 suggests there are several factors linked to one's longevity.  The data
 indicates that first-born daughters are three times more likely to survive to
 age 100 compared to later-born daughters.  The chances for exceptional
 longevity are minimal for sons having a birth order of four to six compared to
 those born earlier or later.
     The research, developed by the SOA in partnership with researchers at the
 Center on Aging and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of
 Chicago, evaluated detailed family data for nearly 1,000 centenarians born in
 the U.S. between 1875-1899.  Drs. Natalia Gavrilova and Leonid Gavrilov
 collected data from publicly available computerized genealogies of 75 million
 individuals identified in previous studies and validated ages and birth dates
 by linking records to the Social Security Administration Death Master File and
 reviewing U.S. censuses for years 1900, 1910 and 1920.
     "The study supports the idea that early childhood conditions might be
 important for survival to advanced ages," said Dr. Natalia Gavrilova.
 "Limited access to parental care, including attention and supervision, may
 result in less attention being paid to the health and safety of later-born
 children, resulting in a higher risk of infections and malnutrition during
 early childhood."
     The data further suggests that children born to parents who are farmers
 and childhood residence in the Western region of the U.S. may be indicators
 for subsequent survival to age 100.  The study determined that children of
 farming parents who lived in the Mountain Pacific and West Pacific regions of
 the U.S. have a greater chance of surviving to age 100 than those from the
 Midwest and Northeast areas of the country.
     "Without the type of food processing that's currently available, living on
 a farm 100 years ago meant fresher food with more nutrient value," said Thomas
 Edwalds, Fellow of the SOA and chairman of the project oversight committee.
 "This very well might correlate to prenatal and perinatal nutrition as factors
 of exceptional longevity."
     People living to age 100 and beyond represent one of the fastest-growing
 age groups of the American population, increasing at a rate of about 4.1
 percent each year.
     "Actuaries are skilled at measuring risks, and this research helps us
 better understand the predictors of longevity and quantify the implications on
 society and business," continued Edwalds.  "This research also illustrates
 that studies on human longevity could be modernized and advanced further by
 using new computerized data resources such as genealogies."
     To read the study, visit the SOA website at .
     The Society of Actuaries is an educational, research and professional
 organization dedicated to serving the public and its 18,000 members.  The
 SOA's vision is for actuaries -- business professionals who analyze the
 financial consequence of risk -- to be recognized as the leading professional
 in the modeling and management of financial risk and contingent events.  The
 SOA's mission is to advance actuarial knowledge and to enhance the ability of
 actuaries to provide expert advice and relevant solutions for financial,
 business and societal problems involving uncertain future events.  To learn
 more, visit .

SOURCE Society of Actuaries