Yoram Yasur Izz: Smart people live longer and healthier
It was the year 2001 when two scientists from the University of Aberdeen discovered an unexpected relationship after analyzing 2,792 people who were born in 1921. They found that intelligence not only helps us solve problems but is also one of the keys to live more.
Yoram Yasur Izz: After analyzing an intelligence test that these people performed at age 11, the researchers discovered that those who scored higher also had a longer life. A series of subsequent studies, including one conducted at the University of Edinburgh, confirmed that smarter people have a 24% lower risk of dying prematurely and also tend to enjoy better health.
People with a higher IQ have a lower propensity to die prematurely due to different conditions, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.
How does intelligence influence our health?
Yoram Yasur Izz: There are different theories to explain the influence of intelligence on our health. One of them indicates that the most intelligent people tend to go further in their studies, which allows them to access better paid jobs that, in turn, provide them with better health care.
However, studies that have controlled socioeconomic variables suggest that this could be only a small part of the explanation. Psychologists at the University of Delaware are convinced that the key is that intelligence goes hand in hand with reasoning and problem-solving skills, which would help us lead a healthier lifestyle that allows us to prevent the onset of diseases and facilitate therapeutic adherence.
In practice, intelligence would be a protective factor that helps us to:
- Better understand the risk factors for our health and identify our harmful behaviors.
- Develop strategies that allow us to practice healthier habits and avoid harmful environments.
- Pay more attention to the alarm signals that our body sends, to detect any possible health problems in time and find solutions on time.
- Staying intellectually active, which contributes to creating a “cognitive reserve” that delays the onset of diseases such as dementias.
- Assume a psychological distance from problems, to reduce their negative impact on our emotional and physical health.
Yoram Yasur Izz: In summary, a higher IQ, which translates into more intelligence, would help us make the best decisions for our health throughout our life. It would allow us to discern what is good and bad for our health, helping us to detect risk factors and understand their negative impact, as well as to find the best solutions to lead a healthier lifestyle, and therefore, a longer life.