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Expatriate Medical Insurance News: Being older or heavier 'does not significantly impact happiness'

Although being older and overweight could make expatriates more likely to make a claim on international medical insurance policies, these factors do not necessarily make people less happy.

This is according to a cross-cultural study, which was led by Warwick Medical School in the Univerity of Warwick.

It found individuals generally reported an improvement in their emotional quality of life as they aged, although they usually became physically weaker.

Furthermore, people with a body mass index higher than 30 – who are considered to be overweight or obese – had a similar rate of happiness to those whose weight fell within normal boundaries.

The enjoyment an individual receives from living was quantified using eight different factors, including mental and general health, pain and social functioning.

However, while physical exercise did not make a notable improvement to the wellbeing of female participants, men's quality of life was impacted in a negative manner if they did not work out.

More than 10,000 individuals in the US and UK were analysed by the scientists and the results correspond with previous research performed by Professor Andrew Oswald.

This expert, who was also based at the University of Warwick, found happiness typically follows a u-shaped curve, with individuals reaching their lowest point in their mid-40s.

Furthermore, researchers examined the impact sleep patterns have on wellbeing.

They found people who sleep for between six and eight hours every day had higher mental and physical health scores than those who slumbered for a shorter or longer length of time.

"It's obvious that people's physical quality of life deteriorates as they age, but what is interesting is that their mental well-being doesn't also deteriorate," lead researcher Dr Saverio Stranges stated.

"This could be due to better coping abilities – an interpretation supported by previous research showing older people tend to have internal mechanisms to deal better with hardship or negative circumstances than those who are younger," the expert suggested.

Political studies professor Colin Farelly in Canada's Queen's University recently called for more research to be done into happiness.

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