Positive Attitudes About Aging May Pay Off in Better Health

Psychologist Becca Levy is a contributor to the forthcoming WHO report and has spent her career linking negative aging attitudes to such measures as walking speed in older people, a greater likelihood of developing the brain changes of Alzheimer’s disease, and even a reduction in life span. But it’s not all grim; Levy, at the Yale School of Public Health, has also shown that something as simple as subliminal exposure to age-positive words can lead to physical improvements in older people of the sort that typically come about only after a program of regular exercise. If Levy and other scientists are correct, putting a more positive spin on our general view of aging might make a profound difference in the health of people over 65, the fastest-growing age group in America today.

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