Tag Archives: health study


Pessimists live longer than optimists, study finds

While brighter expectations of the future might help most of  us battle the harsh realities of life, a recent study conducted by German researchers has found that pessimists, who tend to have lower expectations about the future, live on average longer and are less inclined to develop disease or disabilities than optimists.

Pessimism-vs.-optimism-350x262Data collected between  1993 to 2003 by the national German Socio-Economic Panel, an annual survey of private households consisting of approximately 40,000 people 18 to 96 years old, was used for the present study. During this survey, participants were asked to rate how satisfied they were with their lives and how satisfied they thought they would in five years time. All interviews were conducted in person.

After five years, the interviews were repeated . It was found that 43 percent of the oldest group had underestimated their future life satisfaction, 25 percent had predicted accurately and 32 percent had overestimated, according to the study. Further correlating showed that each increase in overestimating their future change in life satisfaction was linked to 9.5 percent increase in reported disabilities and 10 percent increase in risk of death.

“Our findings revealed that being overly optimistic in predicting a better future was associated with a greater risk of disability and death within the following decade,” said lead author Frieder R. Lang, PhD, of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany. “Pessimism about the future may encourage people to live more carefully, taking health and safety precautions.”  The study was published online in the journal Psychology and Aging.

Because a darker outlook on the future is often more realistic, older adults’ predictions of their future satisfaction may be more accurate, according to the study.

“Unexpectedly, we also found that stable and good health and income were associated with expecting a greater decline compared with those in poor health or with low incomes,” Lang said. “Moreover, we found that higher income was related to a greater risk of disability.”

However, that’s not to say being optimistic would necessarily mean that you’re a greater health risk. Previous study have shown, especially when faced with dire realistic prospects like terminal diseases, that an optimistic outlook will sometimes help people feel better.

 “We argue, though, that the outcomes of optimistic, accurate or pessimistic forecasts may depend on age and available resources,” Lang said. “These findings shed new light on how our perspectives can either help or hinder us in taking actions that can help improve our chances of a long healthy life.”

Red meat might be passport to untimely death

A major study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, which involved 110.000 people, concluded that eating as little as two pieces of pork per day or one hot dog can raise the mortality rates of mortality by 20%, while showing that substituting red meat with other sources of protein, such as fish, chicken or vegetables can lower mortality rates.

“Our study adds more evidence to the health risks of eating high amounts of red meat, which has been associated with type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers in other studies,” said lead author An Pan, research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH.

Just one daily serving of unprocessed red meat (no bigger than a deck of cards) was associated with a 13 percent increased risk of mortality, while one daily serving of processed meat (like a hot dog or 2 strips of bacon) raised that risk to 20%. The study also took into consideration the age, body mass index, physical activity, and family history of heart disease or major cancers of the patients and includes them in calculating the increase in mortality rates.

Replacing one serving of meat with one source of healthier protein would lower the mortality rates as follows: 7 percent for fish, 14 percent for poultry, 19 percent for nuts, 10 percent for legumes, 10 percent for low-fat dairy products, and 14 percent for whole grains. Researchers estimated that 9.3 percent of male deaths and 7.6 percent of female deaths could have been prevented if they had consumed less than 0.5 servings of red meat per day.

“This study provides clear evidence that regular consumption of red meat, especially processed meat, contributes substantially to premature death,” said Hu. “On the other hand, choosing more healthful sources of protein in place of red meat can confer significant health benefits by reducing chronic disease morbidity and mortality.”

Via The Harvard Gazette

1 in 5 young adults suffering from high blood pressure in the US

Researchers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill have found that more and more young adults are suffering from a condition that has traditionally been the problem of older adults – high blood pressure.

The researchers believe that general problems, such as an unbalanced diet, coffee, and obesity are the main causes for this surge in heart related issues amongst this category of people. Published in this week’s edition of the online journal Epidemiology, the study states that they tested over 14.000 people between the ages of 24 and 32, and found that almost twenty percent were suffering from high blood pressure, a number five times bigger than the generally accepted one.

The thing is, high blood pressure is extremely easy to overlook, especially if you don’t expect it – like anyone in their 20s. Kathleen Mullan Harris, co-author of the paper and interim director at the University of North Carolina Carolina Population Center believes that the findings are results of a dormant epidemic.

“We tend to think of young adults are rather healthy, but a prevalence of 19 percent with high blood pressure is alarming, especially since more than half did not know that they had high blood pressure,” she said.

It is yet another sign of the huge problems obesity brings with itself, especially teamed up with a sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle.