Chapter 14 and 15 with epilogue

Chapter 14 of this novel centers around war and the effects of war experience on the longevity of life. They discovered that men who had served overseas were more than one and a half times more likely to die than the veterans that only served on the home front. Also combat veterans were less likely to live long lives compared to those who went overseas and didn’t face combat. The main reason of this is depression and the life pathway associated with coming back home from serving our country. Individuals who are depressed are more associated with poor health and have an increased risk of dying.  To treat depression, the novel claims that we need a broader view. Treatment should include individuals slowly being integrated back into a supportive community, a stable career, and having a caring group of family and friends.

This chapter brings the importance of establishing programs and making sure our veterans are transitioning back to life in the states. Last summer I had the opportunity to work an event called the “Perfect Sense Unified Challenge.” Junior golfers from The First Tee are paired with a wounded veteran, Special Olympic athlete, and professional golfer for a pro-am tournament that takes place in Washington D.C. From this event, I saw directly the positive impacts of being a part of a supportive community and within a caring group. Golf was the unifying factor for all and an outlet and community for the wounded veterans. The country needs to implement more programs and events like this for all of our veterans coming back from war.

The concluding chapter of this novel speaks of how our society is turning towards pills to fix human diseases that may not even be a disease to begin with. People overlook the less exotic and more effective tools already at our disposal to fix or change something about their health. In addition to modern medicine, equally as important, if not more, is focusing on families, work, and social relations to increase the chances of living a longer life. The novel goes on to say there are many paths to health and gives an overview of each of the previously read chapters.

One of the pathways was called the “high road.” It states that those who are thoughtful planners, have a sense of control and accomplishment, along with perseverance are more likely to live the longest. Additionally, the final paragraphs of the book stresses giving back to the community, enjoying and thriving in a career, and nurturing healthy marriage of close friendships. All of these factors will add many years to one’s life. I’d like to think my volunteer work with Camp Kesem and The First Tee organization, my passion for golf, physical activity, working with kids, impacting the community, and my relationships and close friendships that I have now are all signs of a healthy and long life ahead.  I have been volunteering in some sort of capacity since I was 10 years old. I do it because I thoroughly enjoy it and have found that some of my best relationships with other people have resulted in spending time in the community. My plans for the future may still be in the works at the moment, but some aspects I know I will make time for and keep are volunteering / being part of a group that impacts the community and all of my relationships that I have formed during my time here at the University of Richmond.

In the final pages of the Longetivity Project, it goes to state that experience of our own individual life path is what matters the most. People have overestimated the importance of family biology and think that by receiving a list of best practices to good health will be the magic list for curing all chronic disease we potentially face. However this is not the case at all. As we have learned in class, in order for one to become healthy or have healthy behaviors, they need to take actions and be a part of programs that promote these healthy behaviors.  Not every single person has adequate or can afford access to healthcare, healthy living options, or programs. Oversimplified recommendations do not help this population that lacks the resources yet may be in the most need of them.  Typically those who cannot afford healthy living are not in socially stable societies. Drawing on the biopsychosocial model we have been learning in class and this novel, we ought to target overlooked parts of society, minority groups, and communities when creating health promotion programs. The study may have lacked diverse participants, however in this day in age, we now know there are disparities amongst many minority groups that should be studied just as the Terman subjects were back in the day.

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