Book Review of What Healthy People Know

Book Review of What Healthy People Know

Dr. Bob Gleeson, M .D.
Published by Health Now, LLC in association with Classic Day Publishing

In January 2005, as a presenter and paper writer at the Living to 100 Symposium, I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Bob Gleeson and hearing him provide some medical perspective on long life. His discussion is included in the symposium monograph. He was clear in emphasizing that he understood healthy behaviors and that we can control 70 percent or more or our chances of long life. I was fascinated and also learned that he had written a book for the public focusing on the seven things that healthy people do to say healthy and live long.

This is a great book; very readable and practical. From an actuarial perspective, I was very impressed with the way he combined evidence from multiple studies with information about what people can do for themselves. He also tells us about the methodology and panel size in the studies. His treatment of the topic included of lot of what I heard before and linked well to common sense. At the same time, he provides numbers and concrete advice. For example, he provides a simple questionnaire to enable you to do a self-assessment of your stress level, and several other factors as well. He provides a format for rating our own risk level for heart disease. He provides numerical guidelines for helping us understand where we stand with regard to cholesterol and blood pressure.

The seven recommendations include information about exercise and diet. I was very impressed with the way his advice integrates into what we do every day. He provides a road map that recognizes the reality of many lives.

For the actuarial reader, I would suggest that there are several things to think about:

  • What does this mean to me personally?
  • How might the information in this book help me better structure health insurance and employee benefit plans?
  • Are the plans that I am working with structured to be consistent with the information provided? If not, do I believe the information and are there changes I would recommend?
  • How can added research that the actuarial profession has be combined with this story to create an even more powerful story?
  • Who do I want to tell this story to?

Thank you, Dr. Bob, for a great book.

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