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Updated 10:00 AM September 10, 2007




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'Aging' co-author to speak on positive change

He's 62 but could easily pass for a decade younger.
(Photo courtesy University Of Rochester Medical Center)

John "Jack" Rowe not only wrote the book on successful aging, he evidently has applied what he knows to his own life. Rowe will talk about the opportunities and challenges posed by an aging society at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, at the Pendleton Room in the Michigan Union.

Sponsored by the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR), the event is free and open to the public.

A professor at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Rowe served as chief executive officer of Aetna Inc. from 2000-06 and is widely credited with leading the organization from historical losses to healthy profits. Before joining Aetna, Rowe served as president and CEO of Mount Sinai NYU Health, one of the nation's largest academic health care organizations.

Rowe, a gerontologist, has written more than 200 articles mostly on the physiology of aging, and served as director of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Aging. With ISR psychologist Robert Kahn, he co-authored "Successful Aging," a book that describes how the lifestyle choices people make determine their health and vitality more than genetics and heredity.

In the book, Rowe and Kahn debunk many common myths about aging, including the belief that "the horse is out of the barn." It is never too late to make changes that can have a positive impact on health, Rowe maintains.

"Not only can we recover lost function and decrease risk," they write, "but in some cases we can actually increase function beyond our prior level."

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