Age Beliefs Matter: ‘Ask me about 7.5’
“When I returned from Japan where centenarians were common, and old age wasn’t shunned but celebrated, longevity was on my mind. At that point I suspected that culture played a role in shaping people’s age beliefs, and I wanted to know if age beliefs, in turn might have a demonstrable impact on longevity.
..What I found (from the Ohio Study participants data) was startling. Participants with the most-positive views of aging were living on average, seven and a half years longer than those with the most-negative views.
The reason this finding resonates with so many is that it refutes the widely held assumption that genes alone determine how long you live. Knowing that ‘Age Beliefs’ play such an important role in our longevity (determining as much as 75% of our longevity) means we can increase control over our life expectancy.
..One such social environment for humans, a culture rich in positive age beliefs, not only unites the generations, it also can extend survival regardless of one’s genetic script.”