Summary: A new study conducted by scientists at the University of Illinois and published in the Health Behavior and Policy Review journal has found a strong link between having a healthy heart and being optimistic.
“Individuals with the highest levels of optimism have twice the odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health compared to their more pessimistic counterparts. This association remains significant, even after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics and poor mental health.”
Those were the findings of a recent study conducted published in the Health Behavior and Policy Review journal in the words of Rosalba Hernandez, the lead author of the study and social work professor at the University of Illinois.
According to reports by U.S. News & World Report, “the study took stock of more than 5,000 adults’ cardiovascular health and general outlook on life over the course of 11 years, beginning in July 2000. Blood pressure, body mass index, dietary intake, physical activity, tobacco use, cholesterol and blood glucose all factored into an individual subject’s heart health analysis.
Research subjects, all between the ages of 45 and 84 years old, also completed surveys to gauge their self-reported levels of optimism and general states mental health. The study found that those with the highest self-reported levels of optimism were about twice as likely to score strongly in terms of cardiovascular health.
The optimists in the study were found to have better blood sugar and cholesterol levels than their more negative counterparts. Optimism also correlated with higher levels of physical activity, healthier body mass indexes and lower rates of smoking.”
The study was conducted by professors at multiple universities across America including Indiana, Northwestern, Chapman, Harvard and Drexel universities and funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Center for Research Resources. The findings add to a growing pool of research that suggests correlation between physical health and mental and emotional wellbeing.