Overestimation links lifestyle to aging

Overestimating the impact a healthy lifestyle can have on the ageing process

From rope jumping to strength training: these tips will help you age gracefully and healthily

How should we deal with wrinkles, a flabby neck and stiff joints? Journalist Wies Verbeek asks this question to over eighty scientists. In her book “Ageing a bit nicely”, she offers tips concerning how we can go through our ageing process gracefully and healthily. “Your genes determine 25 per cent of your age. The rest is in your own hands.‘

We are the happiest around the age of 20. After that, things slow down for quite a while (children, less sex, financial worries, midlife crisis: you name it).[1] Only around 50 do we start to feel more happy. But the biggest peak comes after we turn 80. „Probably because older people handle stress and worries better,“ explains Wies Verbeek (58). „They live in the here and now and dare to speak up.“ [2]

In this article, a journalist talks to Wies Verbeek. Among other things, the journalist asks this question: One in three women and one in seven men will get some form of dementia. Crossword puzzles bring little relief. What should we do?

„As much as 40 per cent of all dementia cases can be delayed or even prevented by a healthy lifestyle.[3] Not smoking or drinking, eating healthy food, exercising a lot, continuing to learn, maintaining social contact and low exposure to air pollution are the go-to’s on everyone’s anti-dementia list.”

Pycke, Sophie. “Van Touwtjespringen Tot Krachttraining: Met Deze Tips Word Je Gracieus En Gezond Ouder.” De Morgen, 11 Feb. 2023, https://www.demorgen.be/beter-leven/van-touwtjespringen-tot-krachttraining-met-deze-tips-word-je-gracieus-en-gezond-ouder~bb2de018/.

[1] It is not clear whether this information comes from the book that is quoted. It seems as if this is stated as a fact, since there is no quotation. Nowhere is it mentioned which source is used for this sentence.

[2] This seems too generalized. Not all elderly people dare to speak up or handle their stress and worries better.

[3] ’40 per cent of all dementia cases can be delayed or even prevented by a healthy lifestyle‘ is partly correct, but nuance is needed. Read more HERE and HERE.


The article talks about how to age healthily, but this is exaggerated. It does cite that a lot depends on your genes, but that is not enough. It seems like you can age healthily with some handy tricks. But it depends on so much more and that seems to be put aside in this article. For instance, it is partly true when the article says, „40 per cent of all dementia cases can be delayed or even prevented by a healthy lifestyle“[3], but nuance is still needed. A factcheck published by Knack revealed that 40 per cent is an overestimated percentage. In this article, the journalist consults several neurology professors, including Jan Versijpt of UZ Brussel who elaborates on this matter: ‚It’s about more than just changing your lifestyle. Hereditary factors, as well as other factors, can cause Alzheimer’s disease, such as blood vessel damage. In Alzheimer’s, proteins accumulate in the brain. You cannot prevent that process by, hearing better, or going to school longer. Such lifestyle factors can only cause people to reach the dementia stage later, because they have more cognitive reserve.“

  • Van den Broeck, Stefanie. “Factcheck: Levensstijl Kan Dementie Terugdringen, Maar 40 Procent Is Een Overschatting.” Knack, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.knack.be/factcheck/factcheck-levensstijl-kan-dementie-terugdringen-maar-40-procent-is-een-overschatting/.

about the source:

De Morgen is a Belgian daily newspaper with a left-wing background that now presents itself as a quality newspaper. The newspaper brings the latest news with commentary from editors, backgrounds, columns, opinion, science and reviews of art and culture. De Morgen offers an enlightening view of both Belgium and other countries and reports with an open mind on what is going on in society and the world of politics, culture and media. The editors bring news that digs deeper but is also accessible. The newspaper considers itself as a paper with reliable reporting and insights in the news. It is also the country’s youngest quality newspaper and has already won several international awards abroad.


© Goethe-Institut 2022 / Impresum / Web development Kupodivu