Background: We sought to evaluate the associations between frequency of daily laughter with heart disease and stroke among community-dwelling older Japanese women and men.
Methods: We analyzed cross-sectional data in 20 934 individuals (10 206 men and 10 728 women) aged 65 years or older, who participated in the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study in 2013. In the mail-in survey, participants provided information on daily frequency of laughter, as well as body mass index, demographic and lifestyle factors, and diagnoses of cardiovascular disease, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and depression.
Results: Even after adjustment for hyperlipidemia, hypertension, depression, body mass index, and other risk factors, the prevalence of heart diseases among those who never or almost never laughed was 1.21 (95% CI, −1.03–1.41) times higher than those who reported laughing every day. The adjusted prevalence ratio for stroke was 1.60 (95% CI, 1.24–2.06).
Conclusions: Daily frequency of laughter is associated with lower prevalence of cardiovascular diseases. The association could not be explained by confounding factors, such as depressive symptoms.