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    Older people who feel younger than their actual age live longer

    From:Medical News Today   View:758   Date:2014-12-18

    The research letter, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, observed a lower death rate in older people who felt 3 or more years younger than their actual age, compared with participants who felt their actual age or more than 1 year older. 

    "Self-perceived age reflects appraisals of health, physical limitations, and well-being in later life," write the authors of the study, from University College London in the UK. "Older people typically feel younger than their chronological age, and it is thought that those who feel younger than their actual age have reduced mortality." 

    A number of social experiences have been identified that affect self-perceived age over time. Role transitions and off-time events such as becoming a parent at an early age, experiencing stress, the development of serious health problems such as heart problems or cancer - all have been found to speed up self-perceived aging. 

    Authors Isla Rippon and Dr. Andrew Steptoe analyzed data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing in 2004-2005 for 6,489 participants. They measured the self-perceived age of the participants by asking the question, "How old do you feel you are?" 

    The average chronological age for the participants was 65.8 years, and the average self-perceived age was 56.8 years. 

    Participants were divided into three groups: those whose self-perceived age was close to their actual age (25.6% of participants), those who felt more than 1 year older than their actual age (4.8% of participants), and those who felt 3 or more years younger (69.6% of participants). 

    The researchers then recorded all mortality including deaths from cancer and cardiovascular disease up until March 2013. The average follow-up period for the participants was 8.25 years. 

    They found that the mortality rate was 14.3% among adults who felt younger than their actual age. In comparison, participants with a self-perceived age close to their actual age had a mortality rate of 18.%, and participants who felt older than their actual age had a mortality rate of 24.6%. 
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