Is there a link between health and longevity with the presence of a purpose in life?
The average life span has increased considerably in recent years with medical advances and improved quality of life. Scientific research has focused on evaluating every aspect that may have an influence with this extension.
Health as defined by the WHO goes beyond the absence of disease and includes a dimension of mental and social well-being. In this perspective it is appropriate to include other levers, in addition to nutrition and physical-motor activity, to maintain an optimal state of health.
It is therefore understandable why the scientific literature is rich in studies that investigate how having goals and objectives in life improves psycho-physical health and the quality of life itself.
A study at JAMA Network focused on possible relationships between health and having a purpose in life
Last month, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study carried out in the U.S. on about 7000 people over the age of 50, evenly distributed between males and females, to verify the association between purpose in life and mortality for any cause.
Some authors have defined life purpose as: self-organization of life that stimulates the generation of goals, promotes healthy behaviors and gives meaning to existence.
People who do not have a purpose can feel hopeless and lack the motivation to live an active and healthy life. Some studies report that people with a strong life goal engage in healthy behaviors and have a better state of health, especially with regard to sleep disorders, stroke incidence, depression and diabetes.
The association between life purpose and overall mortality has already been explored in the past, but no one has focused on correlating the purpose of life with a specific, fatal cause.
All the data concerning the strong purpose of life (on a numerical scale) and the various pathologies of the participants were collected starting from 2006, through the compilation of questionnaires and assessment scales of psycho-social well-being.
What emerged, following the analysis of the data, is a link between mortality and purpose in life; the statistically significant correlation was with cardiovascular and digestive tract diseases.
The results of this study are in addition to what has already been highlighted by the scientific literature namely that the lack of a purpose, an objective, a perspective in life reduces the length of life itself, with a greater onset of the pathologies indicated. The same diseases that are among those highly influenced by nutrition.
Edited by the Lipinutragen Editorial Board
made up of F. Bonucci (nutritionist biologist), C. Ferreri (CNR Senior Researcher) and R. Rinaldi (Marketing Manager)
- On 5 July 2019