Optimism could be linked to a longer lifespan

According to new research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, your longevity could be related to your outlook on life.

A study of more than 70,000 women who were part of the Nurses’ Health Study revealed that older women who had a more optimistic attitude than their peers also tended to be healthier. After controlling for various factors, researchers found that the most hopeful women were 29% less likely to die during the next six years of follow-up than their least hopeful counterparts.

The most optimistic women had a 52% lower risk for infection, a 16% lower risk of cancer, a 39% lower risk of stroke, a 38% lower risk for heart disease, and a 37% lower risk of respiratory disease than the least optimistic participants. The study cited possible reasons for this correlation, including that optimistic people often have healthier diet and exercise habits and tend to cope better with challenges.

Researchers also pointed out that people have diseases for many reasons and optimism is only partly controllable. Furthermore, researchers claimed that further study is needed to understand more about the relevance of optimism to health.

To read the MPR article regarding the study, click here.


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