Short-lived success

January 2, 2004

Those popular and successful types who were elected class president in medical school may not be so fortunate after all. A University of Toronto study found that they will die 2.4 years sooner than their classmates.

Donald Redelmeier studied 507 medical school presidents and 1,104 of their contemporaries and found that on average the presidents lived 49 years after graduation compared with 51.4 years for their classmates. He points to self-sacrifice as the possible cause: class presidents continue to give work a higher priority than other aspects of life, such as exercise, diet and getting enough sleep.

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