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They Say: Child's First Initial Affects Longevity

alphabet-sm250Choosing a name for your child is hard enough without researchers getting in the way.  Name your boy Alec, Ivan or even Luke and he’s more likely to end up in jail.  Call your daughter Jessica, Brooke or Demi and she might be labeled a trouble-maker at school.  Now, we’ve got a study that links names to longevity and the news isn’t good for David or Dianne. 

According to research conducted by psychologists at Wayne State University in Detroit, people whose first names begin with the letter D live shorter lives than those with names that begin with the letters E through Z.

The researchers credit this phenomenon to the grading system used in schools.  In essence, a D is bad and having a name that begins with that letter lowers a person’s self-esteem.  And low self-esteem has been linked to cancer and other diseases.

To reach this conclusion, researchers considered the lifespans of more than 10,000 professional athletes, doctors and lawyers born between 1875 and 1930. Why they chose this particular group of people isn’t clear, but the shorter lifespan of D names was particularly true for sports professionals.  Those whose first name began with D lived to be an average of 69.2 years old.  This is compared to those with A names who lived to be an average of 73.4 and to those with E through Z names who made it to an average age of 71.3 years.

The paper, published in the science journal Death Studies, also points out an another interesting fact about D names:  Poor people, known to have lower life expectancies just because they are poor, are more likely to give their children names that begin with D.

So, if you believe this kind of stuff and want your kid to live as long as possible (and who doesn’t?) choose a name that starts with A, the first initial found to have the longest lifespan.  Just don’t pick Alec, of course.

Image: kvanhorn/Flickr

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