- Large population studies have revealed strong links between intelligence and both mental and physical health.
- Lower scores on intelligence tests correlate with higher risk of developing personality disorders, depression and several types of cardiovascular disease, among other illnesses.
- By acknowledging the role of intelligence in health disparities, public health specialists can intervene to help close the gap.
As Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Although some of us are clearly better than others at dodging the inevitable, in the end Mother Nature at least will always win. But along the path of life, people vary greatly in how often they get injured, incur illness or coast along in a comfortable state of health.
Considered at a distance, genetics and luck seem to explain a lot. But if we really understood why some people live longer than others, we would likely have diminished the gap by now. When epidemiologists and physicians discover some lifestyle choice or biological factor that leads to a longer and healthier life, they can then attempt to design intervention programs to ameliorate the health prospects of the population as a whole.
This article was originally published with the title Outsmarting Mortality.