Most "tips" for living longer are pretty obvious stuff: eat healthy, don't work too much, stay fit, go on lots of vacations, maybe don't be a popular rock musician aged 27. It turns out that not only are some of these popular beliefs full of shit, but the real longevity indicators are things you probably wouldn't guess in a hundred years, even if you managed to live that long.
7Starting School Early Gives Kids a Head Start (On Death)
Starting kids in school as early as possible sounds like a great idea for a number of reasons: it works their brain muscles at a crucial point in development when they're rapidly learning, teaches them to socialize with other kids and, most importantly, gets the little bastards the hell out of the house for a few hours.
Daddy needs his "pretend my life isn't ruined" time.
They might complain about getting up early and doing homework, but they'll thank us when they're older ... or if they're older. We say that because an extensive 90-year study found that kids who start school really early live shorter lives.
Researchers think the fact that kids are developing so fast at that age is exactly why it's a terrible idea to start them too early. There's a huge difference between 5- and 6-year-olds; on average, 6-year-olds are going to be much bigger, and 5-year-olds much less socially advanced. Throw them into the same classroom and they're going to find it hard to relate to each other in a way that doesn't involve the taking or giving of wedgies.
"You deserve this because you're different from me."
By analyzing the lives of thousands of test subjects from the 1920s onward, the researchers found that being ostracized as a kid leads to lifelong emotional problems, which leads to unhealthy behavior, which leads to a shorter lifespan. In fact, starting age is so important that you don't even have to be a full year younger than your classmates to be screwed for life. In countries like Australia, Norway and the U.K., where there's a mandatory starting age, the kids whose birthdays fall in the summer are less likely to get good grades and go to college than their classmates. All because of when their birthday is.
"You kids can achieve anything, unless you were born in July."
So if you want your kids to get a head start on everyone else, bear in mind that you're also giving them a head start on dying (starring Steven Seagal). But hey, at least we're talking about a thing you can change. Unlike ...
6Being the Oldest Child Means Dying the Youngest
There are several disadvantages to being the youngest son: You are clothed with everyone else's hand-me-downs, you get less attention than your brothers got when they were your age and you live in a house where practically everyone else can kick your ass. But as your brothers rub their saliva-soaked fingers in your ears and punch you in the shoulder, one thing you can always hang over their heads is that you're less likely to get cancer of the balls. A recent study concluded that older sons have a much higher risk of getting testicular cancer than their younger brothers.
So take advantage of that edge in size while you still can.
The study analyzed over a million men in the Danish Cancer Registry and found that later-born sons were 20 percent less likely to get this type of cancer than most people, as opposed to firstborn sons, who have a 25 percent higher chance of having their balls attacked by the big C than their brothers. Other factors didn't seem to make a difference, so apparently this is something that's settled in the womb.
The theory is that the first son gets the pristine uterus, and so gets bathed in larger amounts of estrogen, which, being the opposite of testosterone, doesn't exactly agree with your balls. The good news is that the survival rates for testicular cancer are around 95 percent, so relax. No, seriously, please relax, because another study says that if you're a firstborn, you're also more likely to die from a heart attack.
Look, kittens. (Don't die reading this article.)
A similar study found that firstborns have a much greater chance of developing coronary heart disease, and this one goes for both men and women. Of the 348 CHD sufferers included in the study, 49 percent turned out to hit leadoff in the familial batting order. Unlike the cancer thing, this has nothing to do with their mom's womb and everything to do with the fact that, scientifically speaking, oldest siblings tend to be assholes.
"That's right, son. Mommy's next try will be exactly like you, only 30 percent less shitty."
Researchers think that firstborns are more likely to develop "type A" personalities, and aggressive perfectionists tend to be unlucky in the heart attack sweepstakes. And speaking of which ...