Spring Chicken, by Bill Gifford (2015)

Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever or Die TryingThe subtitle to this nonfiction exploring of current research on aging and anti-aging says it all: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying). Journalist Bill Gifford takes a comprehensive approach to the perennial topic for the sandwich generation – how the hell do I avoid what’s happening to the (parental) units? Whether it’s Alzheimer’s, limited mobility, stroke, diabetes or any of the other ailments looming in the shadows for those over 70, it’s not going to be much fun. So what to do? Gifford takes a look at the science behind the current fads (from antioxidants and hormones to caloric restriction) and the current research (get out and exercise, and enjoy moderate use of coffee and red wine). He talks to the visionaries and the wackos, and doesn’t shy from challenging readers to be critical thinkers and put greater trust in the scientists rather than celebrities like Suzanne Somers and her daily 60+ supplement regime. He uses humour to drive home the point that while we can’t stop the clock, there is a lot we CAN do to increase what is known as our healthspan – the number of healthy years. And if you can get to 75 without pills or surgery, the odds are pretty good that you’ll enjoy a smaller gap between your healthspan and your lifespan. My favourite bit of trivia is that someone who dies at 70 will have three times the medical bills (read hospital stays) as someone who dies at 100. Yup, sicker people die younger. Okay okay, it’s a doh! moment. But still, the research Gifford presents offers much food for thought, and he backs it up with extensive endnotes that span 35 pages, and a six-page bibliography for those who want to explore further. Room for a 12-page index is allocated in the advance e-copy I received with thanks from NetGalley, but hadn’t yet been included. All in all, an enjoyable and informative exploration of the topic.
More discussion and reviews of this title: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22675967


About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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