Authors of the new study -- which was published this week in the journal Menopause -- say the connection isn't causal, but suggests the same genes that enable a women to get pregnant later in life (without fertility drugs) may also slow the aging process and ward off disease.
"The natural ability to have a child at an older age likely indicates that a woman's reproductive system is aging slowly, and therefore so is the rest of her body," explained Dr. Thomas Perls, a professor at Boston University School of Medicine.
Perls and his fellow researchers arrived at their conclusions after studying data on 551 families. They found that women who birthed children after the age of 33 were likely to outlive moms who had their last child before the age of 30. A woman who gave birth after age 40 was four times as likely to reach age 100 than were younger moms.
"Of course, this does not mean women should wait to have children at older ages in order to improve their own chances of living longer," Perls clarified.
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