Longer Life Expectancy for Oscar Winners

Article ID: 518343

Released: 24-Feb-2006 9:15 PM EST

Source Newsroom: Harvard Health Letter

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Newswise — A study of actors and actresses found that Oscar winners lived, on average, almost four years longer than nominees who went home empty-handed, reports the March issue of the Harvard Health Letter.

Actors aren't the only people who reap benefits. Dr. Donald Redelmeier of Toronto's Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre found that Oscar-winning directors live longer than non-winners, and male directors live 4.5 years longer on average than actors.

These findings add to a large body of evidence delineating connections between social status and health and longevity, reports the Harvard Health Letter. Redelmeier theorizes that an Oscar on the mantel moves the winner up the Hollywood pecking order. Winners find it easier to get work, and when they do, they're better appreciated and better paid.

When it comes to screenwriters, however, this study found that winners died 3.6 years earlier on average than mere nominees. One theory: An Oscar doesn't anoint the screenwriter with celebrity status, and the opportunities and privileges that go with it. Furthermore, successful screenwriters, because they aren't in the public eye, don't have the incentive to stay fit, look good, and watch what they eat the way movie stars do.

The Harvard Health Letter offers some condolence to screenwriters: A follow-up study of medical school class presidents in 2004 also showed that success exacts a price. Despite enjoying prestigious careers, the class presidents died an average of 2.4 years earlier than their med school classmates. Dr. Redelmeier says class presidents are typically go-getters who may take on more responsibilities and, accordingly, more stress that causes them to neglect their own health.

Also in this issue:* Vitamin D's health benefits* Recognizing stroke early* New guidelines make CPR easier to learn and to do* Aging eyes and night vision* A doctor discusses: Health reasons to drink, and the right daily dose of fish oil

The Harvard Health Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $28 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/health or by calling 1-877-649-9457 (toll free).


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