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Experts Say The Presidential Candidates Will Probably Live A Long Time Because They're Rich And Well Educated

It turns out their socioeconomic status may be even more telling than their medical records.

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With less than two months to go in the presidential campaign, the conversation around the candidates’ health — and the public’s right to know and speculate on it — is at the forefront.

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Headlines have been focusing on the candidates’ secrecy surrounding their medical records — and Clinton's bout of pneumonia — often citing their age as a harrowing risk factor. At 70, Donald Trump would be the oldest elected US president; Hillary Clinton, 68, would be the second oldest.

But their age alone isn't exactly a red flag.

The current life expectancy for men and women aged 70 in the US is 84.4 and 86.6 respectively, according to the most recent data from CDC.

And that's more than enough to get you through two terms in office.

"From a general perspective, it's very important to understand that having made it past 65 gives you an expected life expectancy that's longer than what's published as your life expectancy from birth," said Dr. Anne Newman, chair of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and director of Pitt’s Center for Aging and Population Health.

"It's reasonable to expect if you make it to your late sixties that you'll make it to your late eighties."

And if you're worried about the next president's longevity, their income and level of education may tell you everything you need to know.

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Education and income level are more predictive of longevity than any one medical risk factor, Eileen Crimmins, PhD, professor of gerontology at University of Southern California, told BuzzFeed Health. (Racial discrepancies also exist in terms of life expectancy, though that gap tends to close with age.)

According to a recent study in the Journal of American Medical Association, higher income was associated with increased longevity. The difference in life expectancy between the richest 1% and the poorest 1% was 14.6 years for men and 10.1 years for women.

For someone aged 70 with a college education, the likelihood of surviving to age 75 is 91% for men and 94% for women, according to Crimmins.

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The more education you have, the higher your life expectancy, Laura Carstensen, PhD, founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, told BuzzFeed Health.

Having a higher level of education is also thought to be a protective risk factor when it comes to dementia, said Newman.

In addition to that, Clinton has one more protective factor: her gender.

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"Generally speaking women live longer than men," said Dr. Thomas Perls, geriatrician at Boston Medical Center and professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. "They also handle age-related illness better than men."

So as rumors circulate around why the candidates aren't releasing full medical records, experts say that there's not likely anything in them that would be of consequence.

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Unless it reveals a diagnosed medical condition that has so far been kept under wraps — like diabetes, dementia, or cancer — it's unlikely we'll get any major red flags, said Crimmins.

According to Newman, information that would be medically relevant would include a history of smoking, a history of heart attack and/or stroke, kidney functioning, and how often they get cancer screenings. Other risk factors that could be worth noting are cholesterol levels and blood pressure; if those are fine, then other subjects of speculation — like weight — may not be a factor.

Outside of all that, good genes and a family history of longevity would be your best bet for predicting health and life expectancy.

Casey Gueren is a senior health editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Casey Gueren at casey.gueren@buzzfeed.com.

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