People with high IQs are ‘20% less likely to die young’ – so how smart are you?

BRAINIER Brits live longer, a major study reveals.

It found those with higher IQs were 20 per cent less likely to die young.

people with a high IQ are 20 per cent less likely to die young, research suggests
people with a high IQ are 20 per cent less likely to die young, research suggests
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Edinburgh University experts followed 66,000 Scots for seven decades, until the age of 79.

They found those who performed best at intelligence tests aged 11 were also a quarter less likely to be killed by heart disease or stroke, and at 28 per cent lower risk of respiratory death.

There was also a lower risk of dying from injuries, digestive diseases and dementia.

Scientists said one reason for the findings may be that smarter Brits live healthier lifestyles and are more likely not to smoke.

They also tend to do more exercise and seek medical attention when ill.

But researchers said increased spending power was unlikely to play a role, as income was accounted for.

Those with a higher IQ have less risk of dying of heart disease, a study has shown
Those with a higher IQ have less risk of dying of heart disease, a study has shown
Getty Images

Another theory is brainier people simply have better genes linked to longer life.

Lead researcher Professor Ian Deary, from the University of Edinburgh, said: “I’m being optimistic about these results.

“I’m hoping it means that if we can find out what smart people do and copy them, then we have a chance of a slightly longer and healthier life.

“We don’t fully know yet why intelligence from childhood and longevity are related, and we are keeping an open mind.


“Lifestyles, such as not smoking, education, health literacy, less deprivation, and genetics might all play a part.

“We and other research teams are testing these ideas.”

After taking account of several factors that could have influenced the results, such as age, sex and financial status, the researchers still found that higher childhood intelligence was associated with a lower risk of death at 79.


You can test your IQ on the Mensa online brain workout here.


The average Brit bloke had an average life expectancy of 79.3 years in 2015, while for women it was 82.9 years.

The study, published in the BMJ, concludes: “Higher scores on a well validated childhood intelligence test were associated with lower risk of mortality ascribed to coronary heart disease and stroke, cancers related to smoking (particularly lung and stomach), respiratory diseases, digestive diseases, injury, and dementia.”


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