When July 24 rolls around, Jennifer Lopez celebrates her birthday, as many of us marvel at her inability to age. And now thanks to science, we know part of the reason that she’s age-defying. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles found that Latinos pretty much hit the genetic jackpot. According to their findings, Latinos live longer and age less. However, they’re more prone to suffering from diabetes and other diseases – a phenomenon called the “Hispanic paradox.” And scientists are hoping to use this research to find a way to slow down the aging process for other ethnic groups.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Latinos in the United States have a higher life expectancy – 89 years compared to 79 for Caucasians. For the UCLA study, researchers studied DNA samples from around 6,000 people, including two African groups, Caucasians, African-Americans, EastAsians, Bolivia’s Tsimané indigenous group, and Latinos, according to UCLA. After examining the DNA from the blood, the group found that Latinos and Tsimane aged more slowly, with Latinas being as much as 2.4 years younger than non-Latina women of the same age after menopause.
“We suspect that Latinos’ slower aging rate helps neutralize their higher health risks, particularly those related to obesity and inflammation,” said Horvath, who is also a professor of biostatistics at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. “Our findings strongly suggest that genetic or environmental factors linked to ethnicity may influence how quickly a person ages and how long they live.” The Tsimané, though, are beating everyone.