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Tip Sheet: Think About Your Health In April

Think about your health in April:

  • April 7 is World Health Day, "Healthy Aging, Healthy Living -- Start Now!"
  • April 5-11 is National Public Health Week, "Healthy People in Healthy Communities."

The following story ideas are based on research by George A. Kaplan, professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology in the University of Michigan School of Public Health and director of the Michigan Initiative on Inequalities in Health (MIIH). MIIH is a public health-based research group looking for the causes, consequences and remedies for inequalities in health. Kaplan is a social epidemiologist who has published more than 130 papers on the role of behavioral, social, psychological and socioeconomic factors in disease prevention and health promotion. Contact Amy Reyes to arrange interviews with Prof. Kaplan.

Add "life" to your years as you age. Disease and illness do not have to be the end result of aging, said U-M School of Public Health Prof. George Kaplan who is author of a chapter of the 1997 book titled, "Public Health and Aging." How healthy and how functional you remain as you age, largely depends on your behavior and other social factors. People who give up smoking and start exercising, significantly increase their chances of living longer and living better. For example, a 1989 Kaplan study showed that elderly smokers had a 76 percent increased risk of death compared with those who never smoked. Kaplan has also showed that men and women 60 years old and older who infrequently exercise have a 40 percent higher mortality risk than those who exercise more. Also, those who had little contact with friends and relatives and did not belong to a church, had an approximately 30 percent increased risk of death. The chapter in the book is titled, "Behavioral, Social and Socioenvironmental Factors; Adding Years to Life and Life to Years."

The causes of frailty in old age. Frailty does not have to be a symptom of
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Contact: Amy Reyes
amelynr@umich.edu
734-647-4411
University of Michigan
2-Apr-1999


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