Photo: Susana Vera / Reuters
Scientists at University College London (UK) have identified social factors that affect life expectancy, and the aging process. So, the elderly who believe that they are doing useful and important things that significantly improves health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. The authors, who published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The researchers analyzed data obtained during the examination 7304 men and women aged 50 years and older who participated in the long-term study of ageing English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). They took into account social and economic indicators, health and related behavior. Were also used data from the National statistical service of great Britain (ONS), which showed how people appreciated the fullness of his life meaning on a scale from 1 to 10. The researchers tested whether there is a relationship between these assessments and physical well-being of people over a four-year period.
It turned out that older people, especially men, are prone to devaluation of its life. However, the married life, frequent communication with friends and relatives improved parameters of ONS. 73.1 per cent of participants with grades 9-10 met with friends weekly. In addition, the feeling that life makes sense, correlated with participation in community organizations, sports halls, religious institutions, museums and theatres.
The ONS figures were also in direct correlation with good health, reduced risk of chronic diseases (coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and chronic lung disease) and disruption of daily activities, reduction in the incidence of depression and obesity. People with high scores had high physical activity and were inclined to eat healthy food.
Scientists emphasize that the study was observational (based on observation and not on experiment), so it is impossible to judge about the causal relationships between correlated characteristics. In addition, the possible influence of confounding factors that have an impact on the data ONS and the health of the people. However, researchers believe that, because the sense of significance and meaningfulness of life can be predicted well-being in the future, it is likely to positively affect health and longevity.
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