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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
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Contributes little that is new to the subject Aug. 24 1998
Because of the excellent scholarship and substantial funds provided by the MacArthur Foundation over a period of seven years, this book may be considered as the definitive study of the phenomenon of the extension of the life cycle which has taken place in the past forty to fifty years. What it does is to verify and explain what is happening to the millions of people now living out their years after the age of 65. No startling discoveries have been made nor new conclusions arrived at. Thework cannot be faulted for its scholarship nor for the obvious conclusions it reaches. The problems which I have with the book do not lie in the facts it presents but more with the unimaginative and pedantic conclusions which it makes. Such statements as "... In short, successful aging means just what it says - aging well, which is different from not aging at all" or "Talking, touching and relating to others is essential to our well-being" or "Later life is a time in which some men and women attain a degree of wisdom that only the thoughtful assimilation of long experience can confer. May it be so with the readers of this book". Much of the book deals with the physical well-being of older people. It discusses at great length about the avoidance of diseases and a long and scary list of disabilities which afflict many people as they grow older. It recommends that health promotion rather than disease prevention is becoming the important theme in geriatrics. If this is true, and my unscientific observations agree, then such an approach has psychological implications far more dangerous than those diseases it helps prevent or minimize. Read more ›
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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 Should be a classic Oct. 31 2002
By caune
The research findings reported in Successful Aging have been supported in a new 20-year study by an independent group of researchers. The study by Becca Levy of Yale Univerisity, et al, was reported in 2002. Simply stated, we can decide now to live longer and better. Having a positive attitude about aging is alone responsible for extending life by 7.5 years, and years of activity and involvment, not suffering. This is a very worthwhile read, despite what some stupid old fools have written before.
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1.0 out of 5 stars would have made a nice article March 16 2001
By A Customer
The idea behind this book is great, but its information could easily fit into a 3-page article in Woman's Day or a similar popular magazine. I expected to learn much more than I did from this very repetitive book. (It almost made me feel like I was aging on the spot: "Hey, didn't I just read that a few pages ago? Am I forgetting or imagining things?")
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