Attitude really is everything.
A new study shows that having a healthy, "can-do" attitude is linked with good-for-you lifestyle choices like healthy eating, exercising and abstaining from smoking.
"Understanding the psychological underpinning of a person’s eating patterns and exercise habits is central to understanding obesity," study researcher Deborah Cobb-Clark, director of the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, said in a statement.
The study included information from 3,412 men and 3,901 women between ages 15 and 69 who were part of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey between 2003 and 2010.
The researchers found a strong correlation between a person's take-charge outlook on life -- whether they thought they had control over their own life outcomes -- and actually living the healthier lifestyle, compared with people who perceived life as more "up to fate."
They also found that men and women had different perceptions on what it means to be healthy: men were more likely in the study to want to see a physical result of their healthy lifestyle, whereas women were more likely to just enjoy the everyday benefits of living healthily.
The study was released as a "discussion paper" and has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed study; therefore, its findings should be considered preliminary.
Every little thing that could promote a healthy lifestyle -- even if it is just attitude! -- adds up. A recent study in the British Medical Journal showed healthy habits (exercising, eating right, not smoking) pay off even in elderly age. Karolinska Institute researchers were able to show these activities were linked with five extra years of life among elderly women, and six extra years of life among elderly men.
Another study in the journal Aging showed that having a positive attitude (not to mention a good sense of humor, and low levels of neuroticism) was a shared character trait among centenarians -- suggesting that these could be vital factors to living a long life, ABC News reported.