Chapters 8 & 9

I was particularly struck about the subsection of chapter 8 titled “Marathonlessness Is Not a Disease.” In this section, the authors discussed the ways that research can be exaggerated to overestimate illnesses. The section outlines the way that hypersensitivity to illness and disease can actually be harmful to one’s health. The fact is, there is just simply not enough definitive research to say what amount of exercise is the perfect amount for each individual. Research is too specific, particularly male specific, to be able to generalize studies over the entire population. That being said, I think that we live in a generation that takes workouts and diets from the internet without actually knowing the costs and benefits that they will have for each individual person. Today, people, myself included, seem to believe that exercising, no matter what this entails, will be automatically beneficial and make you a healthier person, even though this is not the case.

I was very critical of the results of chapter 9. Though marriage does play a large and significant role in the lives of may people, I do not think that the authors dove deeply enough into the issue. The vagueness of being “satisfied” in a marriage does not cover the types of complex issues that a marriage can bring about. The chapter did not discuss abusive relationships, the significance of children in the marriage, or the sickness of a spouse, all of which (and more) are incredibly important to the level of stress existing in a marriage. This level of stress seems to be repetitively indicative of longevity, so I think that they are categories worth investigating.

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2 Responses to Chapters 8 & 9

  1. Neelamberi Klein says:

    I really appreciate your comment that research is too specific, and especially male specific, because so much research has been done and generalized to encompass everyone when it is really only applicable to men, or often white men. We tend to accept these generalizations because its easier to apply false findings to our lives than to test enough subgroups to have more specific results. But as you and the chapter point out, it leads us to adopt habits that might not be beneficial or could even be harmful. To your point on the marriage chapter, I also would have liked more detail, especially because I’m sure there was data collected on the factors you mentioned that simply wasn’t addressed in the chapter.

  2. Elizabeth Doll says:

    I think you’re absolutely right that Chapter 9 was too broad of a focus for it to effectively capture the nuance that marriages have. They touched on how for women, divorce didn’t harm life expectancy in the same way that it did for men, but they didn’t really explore why. Could it have been that the marriages were much higher stress for those women who divorced, so getting out of those relationships ended up helping their health? Like you said, there wasn’t enough detail to understand some of the results that they found.

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