-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Male Holocaust survivors from
Poland have a longer life expectancy than Jewish men in the same
age group who left Poland before the start of World War II, a new
Researchers analyzed data from more than 55,000 Jewish men and
women who were aged 4 to 20 in 1939. They compared those who
immigrated from Poland to Israel between 1945 and 1950 and those
who did so before the war started in 1939.
Overall, life expectancy was 6.5 months longer among those who
survived the Holocaust than among those who left Poland before the
war. However, further analysis revealed little difference between
women in the two groups. The difference in men was significant,
with Holocaust survivors living an average of 14 months longer.
The older the surviving men were at the time of the Holocausts,
the bigger the difference between them and those who left Poland
before the war, according to the study recently published in the
"Men who were 10-15 years old during the war and in their early adolescence had a 10 month longer life-expectancy compared to the comparison group. Men who lived through the Holocaust when they were 16-20, had an even bigger difference in life-expectancy, 18 months longer than their peers with no Holocaust experience," study leader Avi Sagi-Schwartz, head of the Center for the Study of Child Development at the University of Haifa in Israel, said in a university news release.
The researchers said that one possible explanation for their
findings is that the extreme physical and mental trauma experienced
by the Holocaust survivors may have spurred them to develop
personal and interpersonal skills, gain new insights and find a
deeper meaning to life. All of these things could have contributed
to their longevity.
"The results of this research give us hope and teach us quite a bit about the resilience of the human spirit when faced with brutal and traumatic events," Sagi-Schwartz said.
Previous research has shown that traumatic experiences may
shorten life expectancy, the release pointed out.
The American Academy of Family Physicians outlines
good health habits at age 60 and beyond.
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