Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How To Live Longer

A new book called The Longevity Project by Friedman and Martin seeks to identify childhood traits that lead to long life. The best childhood predictor of longevity, it turns out, is a quality best defined as conscientiousness: “the often complex pattern of persistence, prudence, hard work, and close involvement with friends and communities that produces a well-organized person who is somewhat obsessive and not at all carefree.

High intelligence and advanced educational degrees did not correlate with long life. Rather, the ability to navigate life’s challenges was a better predictor of longevity.

Cheerful children turned out to be shorter-lived than their more sober classmates. These children died more often because they had a tendency to throw caution to the wind when it came to life-shortening habits like smoking, drinking, and driving fast cars. The chipper types were also more likely to die from homicide, suicide, or accident.

The early death of a parent had no measurable effect on children’s life spans or mortality risk, but the long-term health effects of broken families were often devastating. The grown children of divorced parents died almost 5 years earlier than children from intact families.

Long-livers had a higher level of physical activity and a habit of giving back to the community, a thriving and long-running career, and a healthy marriage and family life.

Those with a dark disposition, i.e., those who viewed every stumble as a calamity were the most likely to die sooner.

(The above was excerpted from the Wall Street Journal 3-9-11 page A15.)

In looking at this book, I am reminded of the admonition in the book of Ecclesiastes 7:2,3 “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting. for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter because a sad face is good for the heart.”

No comments:

Post a Comment