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The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries For Health And Long Life From The Landmark Eight-Decade Study (2011)

by Howard S. Friedman(Favorite Author)
3.56 of 5 Votes: 1
1594630755 (ISBN13: 9781594630750)
Hudson Street Press
review 1: 3 1/2 stars. Groundbreaking in some ways, but also a little deficient in certain respects. Living a long and healthy life is an interest and goal of mine, so I am always very interested in this subject. When I picked this up, I didn't really know what it was about and assumed and hoped it was about centenarians or supercentenarians. However, it was really more about looking at patterns to see how they correlate with human longevity. This book covers a group of individuals who were originally part of a different, psychological study that tracked the lives of people over several decades. Because of good records that monitored habits and lifestyle/career choices as well as personal events, the authors were able to use this same group in a different way, i.e. to study pa... moretterns of mortality and longevity over a period of 80 years. It's important to note that very few people in this group lived very long lives, i.e. there was only mention of one centenarian. In the book, they seem to associate long life with living past 75 or so, which is a marker not a particularly long life. However, there are some who do live into their 90s and the one person who lives to be 100. Still, there are definite patterns to be noted, and some of the results are surprising particular with regard to stress and long life. Most of us associate stress and worry with increased mortality, and what the scientists discovered challenged this. Similarly, the roles of marriage and religion in mortality did not always concur with popular notions that these are always associated with longer lives. This is not to say that there was no correlation but rather that several other factors came into play. For example, religious institutions may play a role because they offer a sense of community, which people often find in other ways as well, but religion itself didn't seem to have much of an effect. While there were some discoveries that touched on diet and exercise, there was little in the book about diet. A particular exception was Ancel Keys, the study participant who died at 100. He was well known for studying and becoming a proponent of the so-called Mediterranean Diet. Given that most other participants followed a more mainstream diet (just an assumption on my part), it's not surprising that Keys was the one who lived to be 100. It would have been interesting to see more about diet in this book, but that wasn't the focus here and they may have not had the information to include this.While I wanted more from this book with regard to nutrition's role, I think that the researchers did what they could given the information and study participants. Good nutrition (vegan, micronutrient-focused) is likely the most powerful ally in living a long life, but I do think there is value in the other aspects covered by the authors. I think that over time we will see better studies specifically focused on nutrition, such as some of the studies that Dr. Joel Fuhrman is doing. I highly recommend his books to understand the eating style (vegan version of his diet) that is likely to promote the longest life.
review 2: Pretty good. Major drawback: talks about importance of data but is stuffed with anecdotes. Memorable tidbit: the biggest risk factor for early death, and most significant impact on longevity was whether your parents were divorced by age 21. That is pretty striking. I wonder how it compares to now, because back in the 40s divorce was tiny in the population this study covered and now it is very common. less
Reviews (see all)
Overall, really interesting stuff. Started to lose interest in the last couple chapters though.
Conclusions VERY INTERESTING. Way of communicating these POOR
Surprisingly interesting and informative.
Interesting and thought-provoking.....
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