We studied prospectively the midlife handgrip strength, living habits, and parents’ longevity as predictors of length of life up to becoming a centenarian. The participants were 2,239 men from the Honolulu Heart Program/Honolulu–Asia Aging Study who were born before the end of June 1909 and who took part in baseline physical assessment in 1965–1968, when they were 56–68 years old. Deaths were followed until the end of June 2009 for 44 years with complete ascertainment. Longevity was categorized as centenarian (≥100 years, n = 47), nonagenarian (90–99 years, n = 545), octogenarian (80–89 years, n = 847), and ≤79 years (n = 801, reference). The average survival after baseline was 20.8 years (SD = 9.62). Compared with people who died at the age of ≤79 years, centenarians belonged 2.5 times (odds ratio (OR) = 2.52, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.23–5.10) more often to the highest third of grip strength in midlife, were never smokers (OR = 5.75 95% CI = 3.06–10.80), had participated in physical activity outside work (OR = 1.13 per daily hour, 95% CI = 1.02–1.25), and had a long-lived mother (≥80 vs. ≤60 years, OR = 2.3, 95% CI = 1.06–5.01). Associations for nonagenarians and octogenarians were parallel, but weaker. Multivariate modeling showed that mother’s longevity and offspring’s grip strength operated through the same or overlapping pathway to longevity. High midlife grip strength and long-lived mother may indicate resilience to aging, which, combined with healthy lifestyle, increases the probability of extreme longevity
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