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Successful Aging: The MacArthur Foundation Study shows you how the lifestyle choices you make now- -more than heredity--determine your health [Large Print] [Paperback]

John Wallis Rowe M.D.
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 17 1998 Random House Large Print
See the difference, read Successful Aging in Large Print

* About Large Print
All Random House Large Print editions are published in a 16-point typeface

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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From Amazon

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Accessible and upbeat, this report interprets the findings of the MacArthur Foundation Study of Successful Aging, a long-term, multidisciplinary research program designed to examine the genetic, biomedical, behavioral and social factors that determine how well we age. Rowe, president of Mount Sinai Hospital, chairs the Foundation's Research Network on Successful Aging, and Kuhn, professor of psychology and public health at the University of Michigan, is a member of that group. They begin by citing the study outcomes to effectively destroy some common negative myths about aging (e.g., that illness accompanies aging or that mental capacity diminishes with age). Next they define successful aging as having three components: low risk of disease and disability; high mental and physical function; and active engagement with life. Emphasizing that lifestyle choices are more important than heredity, they spell out the choices the elderly can make to enhance each component. While focusing on what to do, they also make clear what not do to (e.g., they warn against such popular anti-aging remedies as DHEA and human growth hormone). They then turn to society's role in promoting successful aging. Finding that the elderly are one of the country's great underutilized productive resources, they propose that improving the mix of education, work and leisure throughout life would keep workers in the labor force longer, and they call on the government to make the necessary regulatory changes. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Successful Aging Nov. 30 2002
I stumbled upon the book strictly by accident and ended up paying full list price at Barnes and Noble. After seeing the really great prices on Amazon, I reluctently sat down to read a few chapters to try and get my monies worth. Wow. To say the book was enlightening would be to offer a dis-service to the multi-year McArthur Foundation Study. I picked up a few things from the book that most readers will not and that is basic assumptions that Private Foundations and Private Research gathers far more information about a subject than Government sponsored projects. It occured to me that Government has pretty muched screwed up Social Security as well as providing for long term health care in America. Successful Aging gives an alternative to spending your final years in a Nursing Home. The book is very well thought through, well researched and backed up with countless citations that give credit where credit is due. I found the book an enjoyable read, almost a primer. After reading this book, I ordered out about three hundred dollars worth of additional books on aging. That should tell you something. By the way, I ordered another copy of the book in out of print library edition to add to my collection. Great Book! Great Read! Don't get old without it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars DARN GOOD BOOK May 24 2000
While some may object to these "counterintuitive" findings, this book is in line with the vast majority of recent research in the field of gerontology. The notes at the back of the book give plenty of evidence to back up the claims here, too! In other words, it's accurate -- maybe not obvious, or what people want to hear, but accurate. That's what I wanted, and I think it's what most people can use. The extent to which one's own actions are responsible for how one ages is kind of scary, but also a powerful piece of knowledge. Also, it's great to know how *late* you can start doing a lot of things to improve your later life.
This book is also clear, consise and helpful. It's available in large print too - because just because your eyesight is going doesn't mean it's too late to improve your health by gaining and applying knowledge! If you find that you are aging or know someone who is, read this book!
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2.0 out of 5 stars what study? April 15 1999
By A Customer
The authors claim it covers the findings of a landmark study funded by the Macarthur Foundation. First of all, only the first 20 pages discuss this study that apparently millions of dollars was spent on. The remaining 180 pages tell us about work done by other people. Their main point, stated blazingly on the cover of the book, is that genes don't matter... what kind of nonsense is that? (And, the Macarthur Foundation had nothing to do with genetics) What makes us who we are anyway??? Who are these guys kidding? I am sure aging can be done well with the right motivation and common sense... but this is not the book to go to for authoritative, well thought through advise.
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By A Customer
I am very impressed with the research-based wide-ranging information about how you can enhance your health, your life involvement, your mental skills, and have better years in your life from middle age on. It is not true that genetics determines all and there's nothing you can do about it. The effects of the choices you make about activity, nutrition, social contact, work and other areas are described, with the current data and recommendations. I read a library copy, but I have to own it for reference and re-reading.
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