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News2011March › The seven myths about living longer › March 2011

The seven myths about living longer

Living longer is nothing to do with being cheerful, not worrying or working so hard

Living longer is nothing to do with being cheerful, not worrying or working so hard. In fact, there are seven 'facts' about longevity that have been dispelled in a major 20-year study.
"It's surprising just how often common assumptions - by both scientists and the media - are wrong", says researcher Howard Friedman from the University of California.
Friedman has taken another look at data on 1500 children who were 10 years old in 1921 and who were tracked for 80 years. His discoveries are surprising, and suggest that ideas on living longer are more myth than fact.
In his study, Friedman has found:
o Marriage doesn't help women live longer, although it seems to benefit men
o Divorce doesn't affect women, either. Those who divorced lived almost as long as women who remained married
o Not working too hard or stressing doesn't help you live longer, either. Instead, being committed and involved in your work is the recipe for a long life
o Starting school at too early an age can reduce the years you live. Better to start later and play with friends instead
o Having a pet doesn't help you live longer, although it might promote general well-being
o War veterans tend to die prematurely, although it's nothing to do with the trauma of combat. Instead, they are more likely to adopt unhealthy lifestyle habits
o Feeling loved and cared for also doesn't help you live longer, although it engenders a sense of well-being. Social interaction helps, but choose your friends wisely. Healthy friends will help you live longer, unhealthy ones may take years off your life.
(Source: The Longevity Project, Hudson Street Press, March 2011).


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