Monday, October 27, 2008

Photos and Aging, Are Living The Fountain the Youth?

Last week I received a CD from my brother with about 250 photos from childhood. I've begun to process these and upload to my Flickr stream. I think I'll organize them online by the decade (1950s, 1960s, etc.), though I'll admit that some of the dates will be a guess.

One thing struck me while working on these. I have photos of both of sets of grandparents, taken about the time I was born, which means my grandparents are about my current age.
1951, maternal grandparents

1951, mike, paternal grandparents

They look old.

It's not just that I don't look as old as them, it's that nobody my age looks as old as grandparents do in these photos. I don't think it's hair color or hair style or glass frame. It might be weight, but I doubt it. Somehow in 2 generations, we've all found a fountain of youth that has us looking about 10-20 years younger than our grandparents did.

Genetically that can't happen in 2 generations.

What has caused the change? Is it better medicine keeping us healthy? I don't think so; my grandparents -with the except of one with type-1 diabetes - were quite healthy at this time. They had not had heart attacks or episodes of cardiac problems that occurred later.

Could the nutritional improvements that occurred when we young have such a dramatic effect that we are physically aging more slowly than previous generations? If so, what does that mean for our children and grandchildren who are consuming a hugely processed diet? Will we be an anomaly blip on the genetic chart? THE generation that somehow got it right?

If it isn't nutrition or health care, what else could it be? I can't imagine. But I'm curious...

Or am I wrong?

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

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