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Is there a checklist for a healthy life?


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In his book, Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, noted happiness expert Ed Diener lays out a checklist of what the research says we need for a good life and why those things are important:

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The first ten items are likely to increase your health and longevity. The next ten items are not only likely to help your health and longevity, but they also will make those extra years a lot more fun! Indeed, whereas a few of the first ten healthy lifestyle items sound like hard work the last ten healthy lifestyle items make life more enjoyable.

And other research has shown us that checklists work.

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I get to eat Dark Chocolate every day?! Sweet.

Oh, and FLOSS, STRETCH, and WEAR SUNSCREEN.

I don't use sunscreen whenever I'm outdoors. :)

18 for 20. Guess which two I miss.

I'm guessing you don't take baby aspirin and you sometimes talk on the cell phone while driving.

Although for the latter, at least you use a hands-free device.

Yep, cell phone and sunscreen.

I score MUCH lower than you, Chris.

Much work to be done here, much work to be done...

We're really supposed to take baby aspirin?

Wasn't there a study recently that drinking EVEN TO EXCESS leads to a longer life than abstaining? Let me find it...

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2017200,00.html

Also, does eating a bit of dark chocolate every day actually have measurable health benefits over eating some other food every day? Like, for instance... YOGURT!?!?!

And finally, I'm pretty sure that overweight people live the longest.

http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20090625/study-overweight-people-live-longer

Drinking, check.

Overweight, check.

Yogurt... check. I have mouse swagger.

1)

Don't have a link handy but I'm pretty sure it's not really the alcohol at work here. People who drink more socialize more and have a better network of friends. I'm pretty certain that's more responsible for the longevity effects.

2)

I'd be curious to learn more about that weight study. I don't necessarily find it hard to believe that overweight live longer but there are a lot of nagging issues here too.

First, BMI is just a terrible metric to use overall. It treats the obese and professional bodybuilders as the same. Great way to study health there, huh?

Second, the underweight statistic is likely to be EXTREMELY misleading. What happens to the vast majority of people when they fall gravely ill? Yeah, they lose weight. Underweight sick people more likely to die. Shocker. "People with little money more likely to declare bankruptcy." Maybe there were controls for that but given the percentages, I doubt it.

Third, I'd like to see the whole thing adjusted for access to medical care. My guess is your obese/underweight are more likely to be poor and your normal weight/overweight are more likely to be upper middle class/rich. Survival may have a lot more to do with that than actual weight...

They tried to control for old sick people in the underweight category. However having been sick myself... I can see that skinny people have fewer reserves when they happen to go to the hospital. For instance, my father (5' 6") went from 150 to 135 when he had surgery; and I lost about 20 lb when I had my aneurysm. If we hadn't had a LITTLE bit of slack, things could have definitely gone bad.

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