The numbers game: Risk factors, lifestyle, and longevity

How are you?

Published: September, 2009

This simple question may soon give way to a growing array of more sophisticated queries: What's your cholesterol? Your blood pressure? Your weight? Your PSA? And with increasing health awareness, even these inquiries are beginning to sound quaint, as men ask about LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, BMIs and waist circumferences, free and total PSAs.

To men who grew up in a simpler era, it must seem like a tyranny of numbers. Knowing your numbers may stand you in good stead on the 19th hole, but do they really matter for your future health? Researchers have wondered, too — and their answers are good news for gents with good numbers, especially if they also have good health habits. And here's more good news: you don't need the latest sophisticated numbers to know where you stand. Instead, a few simple measurements and health habits will do — and good results in midlife predict successful aging and longevity.

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