Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Secret of Long Life is not what you think

By Janice Lloyd, USA TODAY

Prescription for a long life: Work hard. Don't retire early.

The idea that your job or your boss is leading you to an early grave is one of several myths debunked in an analysis of a 90-year study that followed 1,528 Americans. Among other myths: be optimistic, get married, go to church, eat broccoli and get a gym membership.

Researchers Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin report their conclusions in a new book, The Longevity Project. "Everybody has the ideas — don't stress, don't worry, don't work so hard, retire and go play golf," says Friedman, a psychology professor at University of California-Riverside. "We did not find these patterns to exist in people who thrived."

At the core of their 20 years of research is a study started by Stanford University psychologist Lewis Terman in 1921. Terman died in 1956, but other researchers carried on the study. One participant was biologist Ancel Keys, whose life-long work helped popularize the Mediterranean diet. He died in 2004 at age 100. He enjoyed gardening as an activity much of his life.


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