The children of parents who are alive well into their old age also have a lower risk of dying from heart disease or cancer. For each decade over 70, the risk of cancer dropped by 7% and of heart disease by 20%.
"To our knowledge this is the largest study to show that the longer your parents live, the more likely you are to remain healthy in your 60s and 70s," said Janice Atkins, of the University of Exeter Medical School and lead author of the report on the study.
"Parents' longevity could help us predict our likelihood of ageing well and developing conditions such as heart disease, and identify people at higher or lower risk in time to treat them."It follows research by the university last year that found that the offspring of longer-lived parents were more likely to have protective variants of genes linked to coronary artery disease and systolic blood pressure.