Parental lifespan and the likelihood of reaching the age of 90 years in the Netherlands Cohort Study

Lloyd Brandts*, Frans W. A. van Poppel, Piet A. van den Brandt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aim: Growing evidence suggests an association between parental longevity and lifespan of subsequent generations. We aimed to reproduce earlier findings, showing a positive association between parental longevity and offspring's longevity. Additionally, we investigated whether this is mainly driven by the maternal or paternal germline in male and female offspring.

Methods: For these analyses, data from the oldest birth cohort (1916-17) of the Netherlands Cohort Study was used. Participants filled in a baseline questionnaire in 1986 (at age 68-70 years). Follow up for vital status information until the age of 90 years (2006-07) was >99.9% complete. Multivariable-adjusted Cox regression analyses with a fixed follow-up time were based on 2368 men and 2657 women with complete parental survival data and relevant confounders to calculate risk ratios (RR) of reaching longevity.

Results: In age-adjusted models, paternal and maternal age at death were significantly positively associated with reaching 90 years in both male and female offspring. In male offspring, paternal age at death (>= 90 years vs = 90 years vs

Discussion: After confounder adjustment, stronger and significant associations were observed between paternal lifespan and male offspring longevity, and maternal lifespan and female offspring longevity. Future research should investigate through which pathways a longer lifespan of parents is transmitted to their offspring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-221
Number of pages7
JournalGeriatrics & Gerontology International
Issue number2
Early online date26 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • aging
  • cohort study
  • longevity
  • parental lifespan
  • survival


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