Human aging: usual and successful

Science  10 Jul 1987:
Vol. 237, Issue 4811, pp. 143-149
DOI: 10.1126/science.3299702


Research in aging has emphasized average age-related losses and neglected the substantial heterogeneity of older persons. The effects of the aging process itself have been exaggerated, and the modifying effects of diet, exercise, personal habits, and psychosocial factors underestimated. Within the category of normal aging, a distinction can be made between usual aging, in which extrinsic factors heighten the effects of aging alone, and successful aging, in which extrinsic factors play a neutral or positive role. Research on the risks associated with usual aging and strategies to modify them should help elucidate how a transition from usual to successful aging can be facilitated.

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