How You Eat and Positive Outlook is Linked to Lower Risk of Premature Death

A better diet and positive outlook may reduce the risk of premature death and provide a better quality of life as you age. While you can't avoid aging and the consequences that it will bring, you could delay some of the problems of aging.

Recommend This Page
How You Eat and Positive Outlook is Linked to Lower Risk of Premature Death
4 Min Read February 1st, 2023

According to a recent study by Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers, a variety of good eating habits are connected to a decreased risk of early death.

They discovered that in comparison to participants with lower scores, those with high scores on adherence to at least one of four healthy eating patterns had a lower risk of passing away during the course of the study from any cause and a lower chance of passing away from cardiovascular disease, cancer, or respiratory disease. The findings coincide with the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which advocate a variety of healthy eating habits.

According to Frank Hu, Fredrick J. Stare, Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard, the guidelines are intended to provide science-based dietary advice.

Frank Hu

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are intended to provide science-based dietary advice that promotes good health and reduces major chronic diseases. Thus, it is critical to examine the associations between DGAs-recommended dietary patterns and long-term health outcomes, especially mortality.

All the participants from the start of the study did not have cardiovascular disease or cancer and completed dietary questionnaires every four years. Their information was scored based on the four dietary pattern indexes (Healthy Eating Index 2015, Alternate Mediterranean Diet, Healthful Plant-based Diet Index, and Alternate Healthy Eating Index). These share key components, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, although other components differ across different eating patterns.

A lower risk of premature death from any cause and from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and respiratory disease was linked to individuals who scored higher on at least one of the indices. A lower risk of death from neurogenerative disease was associated with higher AMED and AHEI scores. The results were consistent for non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and non-Hispanic Hispanic people.

Being Positive Helpful for Aging

Diet is one component of aging and longevity. According to another Harvard study, those with more optimistic views about aging are likely to live longer and in better health than those with more pessimistic views.

According to the study, those who were most content with their aging had a 43% lower probability of passing away from any cause over a four-year period than those who were least satisfied. The study also discovered that those who were more content with their aging process had better cognitive functioning, lower risks for diseases like diabetes, stroke, cancer, and heart disease, higher rates of physical activity, lower rates of sleep problems, lower rates of loneliness and depression, and higher levels of optimism and a sense of purpose.

Is there a connection between diet and a positive outlook on life? While the studies were not directly connected, positive views may lead to a better quality of life, activity level, and a reduced risk of chronic illness which can lead to long-term health care and death.

There seems to be a connection between mindset and health, according to  Eric Kim, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and an affiliate researcher at the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

There's a connection between mindsets and health behaviors, one leads to the other.

Kim offers suggestions on how to develop a more positive attitude about aging:

  • Maintain a sense of purpose by finding projects that align with your values
  • Reject negative stereotypes about aging, such as the idea that poor physical health is inevitable for older adults
  • Stay socially active, for instance, by joining a club or getting involved with a community organization
  • Try new activities or teach skills or crafts to others

Aging – A Growing Health Problem Around the Globe

Longevity, health, and long-term care have become a significant research concern for scientists because of the aging population in the United States and globally. With more older adults, chronic illness, dementiamobility problems, and frailty create a need for long-term health care. Plus, a longer life itself is associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s and other cognitive decline.

In the U.S., most long-term health care is not paid for by traditional insurance and Medicare. Medicaid is the primary payer of long-term care services in the U.S., but the program requires the care recipient to have little or no income or assets to qualify.

With the rising cost of long-term health care, the consequences on families paying for care from income and savings are considerable. Some families use untrained and unpaid family caregivers. Because of the demands of their lives and the length of time that care is needed, that isn't a sustainable option.

Those with Long-Term Care Insurance have the resources to pay for quality care options, but insurance must be purchased before any health decline. People who do purchase LTC Insurance tend to be in their 50s. Still, many people only pay attention to the problem once their planning options are limited, if available at all. 

While there is current Harvard University research making advances in attempting to reverse aging, this research, if successful, will probably not help us in our lifetimes. Reversing aging in mice is a far cry from doing so with human beings.

Aging is still a reality. Taking action to better prepare for aging will benefit you and your family -- and your back pocket.

Recommend This Page

About the Author

Linda is a former journalist who now enjoys writing about topics she is interested in so she “can keep her mind active and engaged”.

LTC News Contributor Linda Maxwell

Linda Maxwell

Contributor since December 11th, 2017

Editor's Note

As you age, you want to maintain as much of your independence as you can. Make sure your loved ones don't have to worry about you or take care of you as you get older. One of the best ways to maintain independence is by adding an affordable Long-Term Care Insurance policy to your retirement plan.

If you have Long-Term Care Insurance, you will have the money to pay for the high-quality care of your choosing, including in-home care. No one in your family will have to shoulder that obligation.

You won't have to deplete your resources, but with an LTC policy, you will have access to high-quality care services. The expense of long-term health care keeps rising; a Long-Term Care Insurance policy will help offset the rising cost of quality care in the years to come.

LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator - Find the Current and Future Cost of Care Where You Live

LTC NEWS Offers Resources to Assist You in Planning

You might believe that LTC insurance is expensive. Make sure to ask a trained expert that collaborates with all the top insurance companies for assistance. When you do, you might discover that it's far less expensive than you anticipated. Most people find it a very affordable way to safeguard income and assets, reducing the burdens placed on loved ones. 

How Much Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cost?

Most people get coverage in their 50s. Find a qualified specialist and get accurate quotes to decide which plan is best for you and your family.

Be sure to use the many resources are available on LTC NEWS to help you research.

Get Quality Care for Older Parents

Get quality care for your parent or parents if they require it. LTC NEWS can assist. We've put together a few comprehensive guides to help you along the way.

If your loved one is fortunate enough to have Long-Term Care Insurance, make sure they use it. Families may wait, believing they can save the benefits of a rainy day. It is not a good idea to put off using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits.

You can find help locating quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim.

These guides can be beneficial as you try to find appropriate long-term care services for a loved one:

Today's Reverse Mortgages Can Benefit Older Families

Some people have a large portion of their savings in their homes. With the help of reverse mortgages, you can find ways to pay for quality in-home care, pay for LTC Insurance, and even assist with cash flow during retirement.

Yes, today's reverse mortgages may be the perfect way to pay for a Long-Term Care Insurance policy or even cover the cost of in-home care if you or a loved one is currently in need.

Asking an expert with your questions will help you learn more. Mike Banner, a columnist for LTC NEWS and the host of the television program "62 Who Knew," will respond to your inquiries about long-term care, reverse mortgages, aging, and health.

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News

Be Part of LTC NEWS

Improve your website or blog's SEO and gain exposure and traffic at the same time by being a contributor to LTC NEWS. 

You can promote yourself, your business, and your website or blog. It can include links to other sites, and you can share the article link once 

published on your website or social media. However, it must have editorial content exclusive to LTC NEWS and not just an advertisement.

Email your story idea or article: - LTC News Contributors | LTC News

LTC NEWS - Your Advertising and Marketing Partner

LTC NEWS can help you drive traffic to your website and attract people who are interested in your products and services. Furthermore, you can improve the SEO of your website so that more customers can find you when they search for your products and services.

There are various marketing options available with LTC NEWS. Traditional advertising, sponsored content articles, strategic alliances, and more are available. 

Learn more about how LTC NEWS can help market your business, drive traffic, and improve SEO - Advertise With Us | LTC News.

Sharing News with LTC NEWS 

Include LTC NEWS in your press release distribution. If your group, organization, business, political committee, etc., have news to share, send it to LTC NEWS. Email -  

LTC News Trusted & Verified

Work With a Trusted Specialist

Get Accurate Long-Term Care Insurance Quotes

  • Has substantial experience in Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Strong understanding of underwriting, policy design, and claims experience
  • Represents all or most of all the leading insurance companies
man and woman sitting at desk
  • Latest

  • Oldest

  • Homecare

  • Health

  • Government

  • Care Facilities

  • Pets

  • People

  • Lifestyle

  • Insurance

No Results

Step 1 of 4

Find a Specialist

Get Started Today

Trusted & Verified Specialists

Work with a trusted Long-Term Care Insurance Specialist Today

  • Has substantial experience in Long-Term Care Insurance
  • A strong understanding of underwriting, policy design, and claims experience
  • Represents all or most of all the leading insurance companies

LTC News Trusted & Verified

Compare Insurers