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Can Community Help You Live Longer? This Harvard Study Says Yes

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if you want to live a long and healthy life. Eat healthy. Exercise regularly. Avoid cigarettes and drinking heavily. And? Make sure you spend time with your friends and loved ones.According to the —the longest-running study there is on human happiness—having strong relationships makes you both happier and healthier.The Harvard Study of Adult Development began in 1938.

Back then, it was actually two separate studies of human development. One started at Student Health Services, with 268 Harvard sophomores—roughly 19 years old, all men—who were selected for observation of “normal” young adult development and the transition from adolescence to young adulthood.“It was basically a study of thriving—of what goes right in development,” explains Robert Waldinger, M.D., the study’s current director and the co-author of .

He adds that his predecessors may have made some missteps early on: “If you want to study ‘normal’ development, you study all white guys from Harvard?

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