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[Correspondence] Happiness, health, and mortality

In their interesting study, Bette Liu and colleagues1 found no association between happiness and mortality. The risk of death was 36% higher in women who were unhappy than in those who were happy most of the time. Excess risk, however, disappeared after adjustment for background characteristics. Happy women were older, had a lower level of education, and consumed alcohol more frequently than did unhappy women, which increased the risk of death in happy women more than in unhappy women. Conversely, happy women were more physically active during their leisure time, less likely to be obese or a smoker, less likely to reside in deprived areas, and less likely to have a medical condition than were unhappy women, which reduced the risk of death in happy women more than in unhappy women.

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