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Life-Style Risk Factors

Kenneth G. Manton
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 503, The Quality of Aging: Strategies for Interventions (May, 1989), pp. 72-88
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1047218
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Life-Style Risk Factors
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Abstract

This article examines the evidence for two propositions: that health and ability to function can often be sustained into advanced old age through interventions that (1) control risk factors among people already old and (2) improve lifelong health behaviors and life-styles starting with people currently still young. Beginning with a general model of age-related changes in health, function, and survival, the article shows how the interrelationship between the three varies between two extreme types of diseases: the fast, lethal type, where death occurs early and rapidly, with few years spent in unhealthy or disabled conditions; and the slow, degenerative type, where prolonged survival allows for added years in unhealthy or disabled conditions. Since this latter type is predominant among older people in the United States today, interventions to prevent morbidity and functional loss are of critical importance. The need for an improved research base to guide such interventions is strongly urged.

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