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Successful Aging Paperback – March 9, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reprint edition (March 9, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440508630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440508632
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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. --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

Good information that is quite readable.
Amazon Customer
After reading this book, I ordered out about three hundred dollars worth of additional books on aging.
William Alexander
The notes at the back of the book give plenty of evidence to back up the claims here, too!
Jennifer McIlwee Myers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer McIlwee Myers on May 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
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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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By caune on October 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
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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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
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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30 of 38 people found the following review helpful By William Alexander on November 30, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Len on October 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
The fact that many of the suggestions may be intuitive, as one critic alleges, is irrelevent. Many people act contrary to their intuition out of laziness, depression or whatever. Positive reinforcemnt of classic truths could be of great help to such people and should not be trivialized or dismissed.

Such advice is plentiful in this invaluable book and not all of it is intuitive. One such is the statement that, even if you are in your nineties, it is not too late to begin weight training. Fortunately for me, I read this book soon after publication and am eternally thankful that, at the age of 76, I go to a gym several times weekly and run regularly. While x-rays show me to be racked with osteoarthritis I am asymptomatic.

I consider "Successful Aging" a must read.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Janet F. Doyle on February 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Easy reading in simple language. Encouraging and uplifting. I love how it details the connection between social inter-actions and quality of life. Really good advice for maintaining independence in old age from a physical and mental perspective. Best of all, there is no pressure to rush out and make special purchases. I am getting copies as gifts for siblings - worth reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Coulson on March 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Delivery as promised, condition as promised. Also, very informative book for anyone who works with the aging population or is nearing or is in that phase of their life.
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Format: Paperback
very good book with a lot of information and solid data. the writing style was a little dry and repetitive.
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