And here I thought longevity was stored in a can of good old SUA ONG THO; yep that’s life for you. It turns out, we have two health scientist that challenges the manifesto of SUA ONG THO.
To live a long life, we’ve been told, eat well, exercise and manage stress. Now an eight-decade study indicates that’s only part of the equation. Health scientists Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin explain how factors such as social connections, personality and marriage affect long-term health in The Longevity Project.
Friedman and Martin drew upon the work of Stanford University psychologist Lewis Terman, who began studying intellectual leadership in 1921. Terman selected about 1,500 of the brightest boys and girls he could find and tracked them throughout their lives. He collected all sorts of information about the children and their families — from how many books were in their houses, to their dispositions.
Terman died in 1956, but the project was carried on by others. Friedman and Martin picked up on his work in 1990, and used the decades of data gathered to better understand health and longevity.
“Everyone knows,” Friedman tells NPR’s Jennifer Ludden, “that some people are more prone to disease, and they take longer to recover and they live shorter lives, when their seemingly comparable friends and associates thrive.” Genetic factors offer part of the explanation for why — about one-third, he says — but there’s much more to it.
Take disposition, for example. Cheerful and optimistic children are actually less likely to live long lives, they found.
“The most cheerful, optimistic kids grew up to take more risks,” explains Martin. “By virtue of expecting good things to happen and feeling like nothing bad ever would, they predisposed themselves to be heavier drinkers, they tended to be smokers, and their hobbies were riskier.”
So, she concludes, “some degree of worrying actually is good.” And, in fact, adds Friedman, “the prudent, persistent, planful people — both in childhood … and then in young adulthood we measured that — that was the strongest individual difference, or personality predictor, of long life.”
Wow, I think they’re on to something here, it’s a good read and for you non-readers; you can listen to the article. Who does that? NPR.org baby!! Do a remix of the article even, it’s an A capella. So check out the article, they droppin’ knowledge over there, don’t be scurred…