Harvard Women's Health Watch

Feeling younger may mean living longer

Claiming to feel younger than your age isn't just whistling into the wind. It can also mean you have more years ahead than some of your former classmates. According to a report in the Dec. 15, 2014, issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, older people who felt three or more years younger than their chronological age had a lower death rate compared with those who felt their age or older.

Two researchers at University College London looked at the responses of about 6,500 men and women with an average age of 65 who answered the question, "How old do you feel you are?" About 70% reported that they felt three or more years younger than their years, while 25% felt close to their age, and 5% felt more than one year older than they were.

In 2013, eight years after study participants answered the age question, researchers determined that 86% of those who felt younger than their actual age were still alive, compared with 82% who felt their age and 75% of those who felt older.

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