A research involving 5,100 participants and published in the journal Wellbeing Behavior and Policy Critique has suggested that folks who have a sunny and positive outlook to life enjoy a better cardiovascular health – a pleasure that might not be open to overly pessimistic people.

The total health score of 5,100 participants aged 45 to 85 were taken – based on their mental health, levels of optimism, and physical well being – and researchers found optimistic people fare much better health-wise, with greater chances of living longer than sultry and negative people.

And according to lead study author, Rosalba Hernandez, of the University of Illinois, “Individuals with the highest levels of optimism have twice the odds of being in ideal cardiovascular well being compared to their more pessimistic counterparts.”

Based on survey responses, people with good-nature and positive outlooks enjoy 50% more overall health score within the intermediate grading, and they also enjoy a 76% rating index within the excellent grading scale.

Their cardiovascular health was measured in terms of blood pressure, blood sugar levels, physical mass index, serum cholesterol levels, physical activity, and dietary intake among others. And to this end, Hernandez adds that “At the population level, even this moderate distinction in cardiovascular wellness translates into a considerable reduction in death rates.”

Although the study involved 38% white participants, 28% African-American respondents, 22% Hispanic/Latino individuals, and 12% Chinese folks. The researchers discovered that the results of personal outlook to life and cardiovascular well-being does not really change among racially and ethnically diverse populations, and according to Hernandez, optimistic dispositions and cardiovascular health remains “important, even following adjusting for socio-demographic qualities and poor mental wellness.”

“This evidence, which is hypothesized to occur by way of a bio-behavioral mechanism, suggests that prevention methods that target modification of psychological well-being e.g., optimism, may perhaps be a potential avenue for (the American Heart Association) to reach its target of enhancing Americans’ cardiovascular wellness by 20% ahead of 2020,” she added.

Funded by the National Center for Study Resources and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the study corresponds to metrics used by the American Health Association to define and measure cardiovascular health and general well-being.

3 Responses

  1. truthster

    LOL! I think they meant “sullen,” not “sultry.” Unless a dark, feminine sensuality is bad for one’s heart!

  2. frappyjohn

    A search via Google for “Wellbeing Behavior and Policy Critique” produces zero results. There apparently is no such journal.

    • Dr. S.B.

      It is available from the journal for $37 dollars. New journal, January 2015 is the second volume, not yet on Google, but plenty of press release information from U. Illinois online. The problem with this study is the “chicken and the egg”, Are optimists healthier, or are healthier people more optimistic since they don’t have serious cardiac problems to worry about? Do optimists engage in behavior, such as running, dieting, better sleep that are the real reasons for better health. This study, as the author (R. Hernandez) points out is a baseline.

      Objectives: We examined the association between optimism and cardiovascular health (CVH). Methods: We used data collected from adults aged 52-84 who participated in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) (N = 5134) during the first follow-up visit (2002-2004). Multinomial logistic regression was used to examine associations of optimism with ideal and intermediate CVH (with reference being poor CVH), after adjusting for socio-demographic factors and psychological ill-being. Results: Participants in the highest quartile of optimism were more likely to have intermediate [OR = 1.51, 95% CI = 1.25, 1.82] and ideal [OR = 1.92, 95% CI = 1.30, 2.85] CVH when compared to the least optimistic group. Individual CVH metrics of diet, physical activity, body mass index, smoking, blood sugar, and total cholesterol contributed to the overall association. Conclusions: We offer evidence for a cross-sectional association between optimism and CVH.


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