Americans over the age of 65 have learned how to live well, as measured by such things as general optimism and healthful habits, exceeding every other age group in these categories. By contrast, boomers in the 45-to-64 group rate most poorly, according to the Gallup-Healthways Wellbeing Index. "Improve well-being, and productivity goes up and health care costs come down," says Ben Leedle, president of Healthways, who notes that younger generations have much to learn from seniors if the nation is to restrain growth in health care costs.

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