Successful Aging: The MacArthur Foundation Study shows you how the lifestyle choices you make now- -more than heredity--determine your health (Random House Large Print)

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9780375701795: Successful Aging: The MacArthur Foundation Study shows you how the lifestyle choices you make now- -more than heredity--determine your health (Random House Large Print)

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* About Large Print
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Here at last is a compelling and inspiring presentation of what determines how well we age--the results of the MacArthur Foundation Study of Aging in America, which show how to maintain optimum physical and mental strength throughout later life.

Research into aging has been revolutionized in the past ten years largely due to the MacArthur Study, which under the leadership of Drs. John W. Rowe and Robert L. Kahn created a network of leading research scientists from key fields to determine what aging actually involves. Rejecting the established approach of studying aging in terms of anticipated decline, these scientists set out to identify the factors that were enabling vast numbers of people to preserve and even enhance their mental and physical vitality in later life.

Successful Aging brings together the remarkable results of the study for the first time. They explode the myths about aging that have long shaped individual and institutional attitudes toward growing older, including the biggest myth of all: "The key to aging well is choosing your parents wisely." In fact, they discovered that lifestyle choices--more than genes--determine how well we age. Drs. Rowe and Kahn outline those vital choices, including changes in diet, types of exercise, mental stimulation, self-efficacy, and dynamic connections. These choices can make a difference no matter how late in life they are made. In addition, Drs. Rowe and Kahn include the latest research-based strategies to delay or prevent the common diseases of old age.

Society can also influence how we age. Drs. Rowe and Kahn detail innovative programs and policies that are enabling older men and women to stay healthy and to continue to contribute to their societies.

For all of us, the rewards of successful aging are great; this eye-opening work shows how they can be attained and enjoyed.

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Review:

This groundbreaking book should definitely help further the movement of what the authors call "a new gerontology." John Rowe, M.D., and Robert Kahn, Ph.D., both members of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network, thoroughly debunk the myth that aging has to be a painful process of debilitation. Their research has shown that the influence of genetics shrinks proportionately as you get older, while social and physical habits become increasingly integral to your state of health--both mental and physical. The 10 years' worth of research cited in Successful Aging reveal some flabbergasting facts about health in later life. For example, an inactive person is worse off, health-wise, than a smoker who exercises regularly. And your lifestyle and attitude are significantly more important than your genes in determining whether or not your golden years are healthy ones--even if you have a genetic predisposition for developing Alzheimer's, arthritis, cancer, or other serious health problems.

Rowe and Kahn start with a thorough breakdown of nutritional advice, including a rundown of the many vitamins and other nutrients that those older than 60 are in particular need of. They also detail the most important exercises for optimal functioning of body and mind, and analyze the benefits and risks of DHEA, melatonin, and tretinoin, while warning about snake-oil formulations that are now being marketed to the AARP set. There's also a thorough explanation of the importance of creativity and social connections--the research shows that, for the aging, strong social ties are even more important in preventing illness than genetic background.

From the Back Cover:

In this clear and authoritative work, Drs. John W. Rowe and Robert L. Kahn explain that successful aging is largely determined not by genetic inheritance--as common wisdom has it--but by individual lifestyle choices in diet, exercise, the pursuit of mental challenges, self-efficacy, and involvement with other people. This shift in the field of gerontology is due in great measure to the MacArthur Foundation Study of Aging in America, which was begun in 1987 and led by Drs. Rowe and Kahn. Its remarkable results are brought together for the first time in Successful Aging.

Inspiring and instructive, and based on more than ten years of groundbreaking research, the information and ideas presented here will transform our thinking about the quality of life that it is possible to obtain and sustain as we grow older.

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