General Question

ibstubro's avatar

To what do you attribute former U.S. President Jimmy Carter's longevity?

Asked by ibstubro (18765points) August 12th, 2015

As asked.

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22 Answers

jca's avatar

Kept active and involved in the community with Habitat for Humanity. Also probably got the best medical care, as someone in his esteemed position would.

majorrich's avatar

He forgot to die.

Buttonstc's avatar

He might not be around that much longer as recent liver surgery revealed cancer which has unfortunately spread to other parts of his body. This was announced today.

But he has reached the age of 90 with few health problems. Numerous other members of his family succumbed at much earlier ages to pancreatic cancer.

When asked why he thinks it bypassed him he stated that they all smoked cigarettes and this might have been the trigger for the already present generic predisposition. Interesting.

I think that his having never smoked plus his healthy emotional lifestyle played a part in his longevity. He kept active, giving to others in a hands on way building homes.

Even now, he had to rearrange his busy schedule to accomodate the upcoming cancer treatments so he has been very involved with life and kept busy with meaningful activities.

Plus, he has previously stated that he and Rosalynn made a pact to never go to bed angry with each other. Because conflicts are acknowledged and dealt with promptly, there wasn’t the baggage of festering resentment to lug around.

Hopefully the cancer treatments will allow more time for him. But if you have to go, age 90 is a pretty good track record.

LostInParadise's avatar

His religious faith is probably a factor. Statistically religious people live longer. It must be good for the body to believe this is the best of all worlds and that if you behave yourself you will be rewarded. I say this as an atheist.

Buttonstc's avatar


Good for you for providing that info.objectively.

Had a known Theist posted the exact same words it might have been interesting to watch what happens to this thread :)

stanleybmanly's avatar

Clean livin.

dabbler's avatar

He’s charitable, honest, and active which leads to a harmonious life, more peace, less stress.

DoNotKnow's avatar

@Buttonstc: “Had a known Theist posted the exact same words it might have been interesting to watch what happens to this thread :)”

I disagree. That implies that non-theists will attack true statements because they conflict with their beliefs. Also, it sounds like you’re unfamiliar with what the data says about religiosity and life expectancy. It doesn’t look good.

@LostInParadise is referring to some studies that show that within a country where the religious enjoy a majority (U.S.), religion appears to be correlated with longer life span. But this correlation is reversed in countries that are mostly secular. Additionaly, if we look at life expectancy and religiosity by country, the most religious countries have the lowest life expectancy.

Edit: Here is a pretty decent summary.

cazzie's avatar

He spent his life helping other people. He has been doing much much more than building houses. One of my favourite interviews with him is when he was talking about his foundation for ridding the world of this parasitic worm. I’ll see if I can find it.

It annoys me that he is always referred to as a peanut farmer. He was an nuclear engineer. He was trained in the navy.

rojo's avatar

To the fact that he hasn’t died yet.

Buttonstc's avatar


“That implies that non-theists will attack true statements because they conflict with their beliefs.”

No, that’s your interpretation of what I said. That is so far off the mark of what was in my head when i wrote it. You really stretched it beyond the breaking point there :)

And you obviously missed the smiley at the end of my last sentence.

But as long as you can’t take a little humor in the spirit in which it was intended, let me just drop you a little clue about myself. I’m not the “implying” type. I normally come straight out and bluntly say exactly what I mean.

Had I wanted to say what you inferred from my little joshing then I would have come straight out and said precisely that. Just ask anybody who knows me.

It was my intention to let @LostInParadise know in a lighthearted way that I appreciated his bringing up that point.

And it was a humorous nod to all the threads over the years which have devolved the moment religion was mentioned. I mean straight down the toiletI to where people (on both sides) left Fluther never to return due to the unnecessary rancor. I think you’ve missed the worst of the brouhahas which have taken place in past years because things have been pretty mellow as of late compared to previous years.

Anyhow, it was intended as a humorous aside. Nothing more.

And, yes, I am familiar with the studies but for THIS question, what occurs in other countries is kind of a moot point since Carter lives here in the good ol’ US of A.

However I appreciate the link. Even tho familiar with the content I wouldn’t have had the foggiest notion where to access it. (My Google-Fu pales in comparison to a lot of other Fluther members. It’s just not my forte.)

Buttonstc's avatar


I’m glad you brought up that point. A lot of people still have a dim view of him simply because his Presidency was torpedoed by the Iran hostage crisis and failed rescue attempt. That wasn’t the only thing which saddles him with the presumption of being one of the most ineffectuve Presidents but it was the most widely publicized.

But he is sure making up for that in his retirement years. No sitting on the porch in a rocking chair for him.

He has also been involved in group efforts to ensure fair elections in a number of countries.

And he was an Annapolis graduate and served on one of the first Nuclear submarines as a protege of Admiral Nimitz.

(and Bush refuses to even learn how to pronounce the word nuclear :)

Bush gets my vote for one of the dumbest Presidents.

But back to Carter, even tho he has a brilliant mind, in a way it likely hindered him in the Presidency because his analytical mind was obsessively focused on all the minute details of all the issues before him and he wasn’t good at delegating tasks to others.

That can just wear someone out because it’s just too much to process. Delegating tasks is critical to survival I’m that atmosphere.

I think that was a valid criticism of his style but it’s unfortunate.

Pachy's avatar

Most of the above plus Luck O’ the Draw. I’m very saddened by his news. President Carter is one of my few heroes.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Good genes/made of tough material and of course financial wealth which helps.

rojo's avatar

I think it has something to do with the number of birthdays that he has had. I read once that it said that people who have the most birthdays tend to live the longest, maybe that has something to do with it.

zenzen's avatar

The vitamin e in peanuts.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Peanuts and beer, His brother left him his stash. Plus he’s always had his focus on helping others. God loves to drag out the lives of losers like that.

Bill1939's avatar

Life brings joy and sadness, success and failure, health and sickness. Longevity is a product of genetics, attitude and access to effective medical treatment. President Carter’s long and productive life benefited from all of these. Religious beliefs greatly effected his attitude. It held his focus on the needs of others and away from thinking mostly about himself. Their poverty was more important to him than his wealth, their anonymity more important than his fame, their lives more important than his legacy.

Religion is not necessary for people to be more altruistic than egocentric, and religion is of little benefit for those whose life affords few opportunities to escape from the suffering that abject poverty produces. Survival forces people to be focused on their needs and their limited means leaves little room for altruism. At best, religion provides the hope for an escape from their suffering in a future life in a heavenly existence.

ucme's avatar

His teeth, if asked to name a defining characteristic of an ex-prez, his gnashers immediately spring to mind even though I was just a kid when he owned the white house.

Pachy's avatar

@Bill1939… Beautiful!

Coloma's avatar

Beer, peanuts and panache.

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