Apr 18, 2013 02:53 PM EDT

Job in the Spotlight Can Lead to Earlier Death, Study Says

A new study found that people who lead a famous life are prone to die at a younger age than their non-famous counterparts.

Researchers Richard Epstein and Catherine Epstein said the study, based on analyzing 1,000 New York Times obituaries from 2009-2011, found film, music, stage performers and sports people died at an average age of 77.2 years.

The findings should be a warning to young people obsessed with celebrity and stardom, the study's authors noted. Creative artists who worked on their own, such as writers, composers and painters, also had shorter lives, though not to the same degree as performers.

This compared to an average lifespan of 78.5 years for creative workers, 81.7 for professionals and academics, and 83 years for people in business, military and political careers.

The study found that more men had obituaries in the New York Times than women (813 versus 186). The average age of death was 80.4 and 78.8 for the men and women written about respectively. For comparison, the average U.S. lifespan is 76 years old for males and 81 females.

"Fame and achievement in performance-related careers may be earned at the cost of a shorter life expectancy," the researchers wrote in their study published in QJM: An International Journal of Medicine.

"In such careers, smoking and other risk behaviours may be either causes of effects of success and/or early death."

"Death in The New York Times: the price of fame is a faster flame" is published in QJM: An International Journal of Medicine. 

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