It turns out that the arrival of your very first period could actually tell you a lot about the future of your health. Research out of the University of California, San Diego, found that women who got their first period later than others actually had a higher life expectancy.
The Women’s Health Initiative collected data from 16,000 post-menopausal women and researchers found not only the age you got your first period, but also when you start menopause to be a good indicator of overall health and longevity.
The study showed that beginning menstruation at age 12 or older indicated a likelihood of longer life; menopause after the age of 50 was also an indicator of good health.
Interestingly, if you got your period later, you were less likely to develop diabetes or take up smoking.
“Our team found that women who started menstruation at a later age were less likely to have certain health issues, like coronary heart disease, and those who experienced menopause later in life were more likely to be in excellent health overall, which may be a possible explanation for our findings,” says lead study author Alladin Sahdyab.
This article originally appeared on Women’s Health.