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New research finds the happiest Americans are the oldest. Older adults are more socially active than the stereotype of the lonely senior suggests, social activity can help keep away the blues. Duke Univ. aging expert Linda George reports the odds of being happy increase 5% with every 10 years of age. 33% of Americans report being very happy at age 88, vs. 24% of those age 18 to their early 20s. Throughout the study years, most Americans reported being "very happy" or "pretty happy." Less than 20% said they were "not too happy." A separate Univ. of Chicago study found 75% of people 57 to 85 engage in one or more social activities at least weekly (socializing with neighbors, attending religious services, volunteering or going to group meetings). Those in their 80s were twice as likely as those in their 50s to do at least one of these activities.

(Wired 4/19/08)

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