Autumn 2001 / Leading Edge
Is Oscar Good for Your Health?

A study has found that Academy Award winners live an average of four years longer than their less well known peers


A recent U of T study found that Oscar-winning actors can expect to live on average almost four years longer than their less-well-known peers. Dr. Don Redelmeier, deSouza Chair in Clinical Trauma Research in the Faculty of Medicine and at Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre, examined the life expectancy rate and mortality rate of all 762 actors nominated for an Academy Award in a leading or supporting role during Oscar’s 73-year history. The same-size control group consisted of other cast members of the same sex and roughly the same age who played in the same films as nominees but weren’t nominated. Whether the award was for supporting or leading actor, Oscar winners lived on average almost four years longer than the control group; they also had a 22 per cent reduction in mortality for each additional Oscar. “Movie stars are often surrounded with people who are interested in their well-being and reputation. Successful performers often have personal staff that make it easy to follow an ideal lifestyle,” says Redelmeier. “Science has known for decades that poor status leads to poor health, but most prior studies focused primarily on those living in poverty and attributed findings either to poor diet, housing or other deprivation. We show that the same relationship also holds at high levels of achievement.”


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