What myths do many of us believe about health and living a long life?



The Longevity Project covers the results of an eight decade study that followed nearly 1500 people from childhood to death. They documented a number of trends disproving many commonly held beliefs about what is healthy and what leads to a long life:

Our studies have uncovered a series of what we call dead-end myths— common advice that is not supported by good science and can lead to dead ends in more than one sense of the term. Throughout this book, we’ll explain exactly why the following common beliefs, to name a few, are false:

  • The best of men cannot suspend their fate: The good die early, and the bad die late. (Myth!)
  • Get married and you will live longer. (Myth!)
  • Take it easy and don’t work so hard and you will stay healthier. (Myth!)
  • Thinking happy thoughts reduces stress and leads to long life. (Myth!)
  • Religious people live longer, so don’t miss religious services. (Myth!)
  • If you have hobbies like gardening, walking, and cooking, you should take up more vigorous forms of exercise. (Myth!) Worrying is very bad for your health. (Myth!)
  • If you believe that you are loved and cared for, then you are on the road to good health. (Myth!)
  • Retire as soon as you can and play more golf to stay healthy and live longer. (Myth!)
  • If your child is very serious, encourage him or her to be more spontaneous and have more fun. (Myth!)
  • Give your children a big head start in school and they will thrive for life. (Myth!)
  • You can live to be a hundred only if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred (as Woody Allen is said to have joked). (Myth!)

I’ve covered more of the results of this fascinating study in these posts:

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