Study: Americans Desire a Long Life, But Many Don’t Want to Work for It

Lillie M. Thomas | February 12, 2016

Study: Americans Desire a Long Life, But Many Don’t Want to Work for It

In a literal “eat your cake and have it, too” situation, Americans want to live a long time, but are not doing the legwork to make that happen.

The Stanford Center for Longevity and Time conducted a survey of 2,330 American adults and found that 77% wanted to live to be 100. Another third of those surveyed wanted to live past 90.

But the study also found that most people are not living in a manner conducive to a long and healthy life:

“‘The surprise in this survey is not that people want to live to 100, but it is how little they have done to prepare for this eventuality,’ said Peter D. Hart, of Hart Research Associates who conducted the survey, in a statement. ‘Americans admit to having overweight bodies and underweight financial strength in preparing for a long life.’”

Of the people surveyed, only 25% of people thought they were eating as healthy as they should be, 24% said they exercised enough, a third were happy with their body weight, and 40% believe that they will have the financial means to live to be 100.

For wanting to live such a long time, people are not putting in much effort: “Indeed, among the Americans surveyed who want to be centenarians, only 42% say they are making a serious effort to get there.”

Perhaps the incongruity of these results is due to the overwhelming optimism of Americans:

“Seventy-seven percent of people say they are happy with their lives overall and feel that their family, career and education make them happy, and 74% of people surveyed said that when they think about themselves growing older, they think of mostly good things.”

Will optimism be enough to keep people alive for 100 years?