Written by Junoria Worthy, Harris-Stowe State University graduate and participant in the Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program
Many people do not think about the fact that they are aging every second of every day. The process is inevitable — from the day you are born, aging begins. Some view aging as negative, and others as a necessary and joyful part of life. Through aging, you are able to experience and play a role in the changing scenery around you. With age, you are able to offer perspective and wisdom to those who come after you!
Aging can be affected by many of our daily life activities. The aging process can be defined as: physiological deterioration, diseases or chronic conditions, frailty, and disability. Different diets, physical activity levels, and emotional health can play a role in aging. Many different environmental factors can also influence the aging process. Environmental factors such as water and food security, access to fresh water and produce, exposure to air pollution and water pollution are just a few.
Even sex can play a role in the aging process. Studies show that women in the U.S. currently have a life expectancy of 72.8 years and males 68.2 years. Though aging happens every day, it is shown that increasing metabolism by lowering caloric intake can have a positive influence on the aging process, along with many other lifestyle changes and activities that support a healthy and enjoyable aging process.
Being part of the Summer Research Program – Aging and Neurological Disease Track has provided more insight on aging and the varied factors that can affect the aging process. The program has presented seminars highlighting different diseases that are prevalent with aging as well as ways to combat these diseases. We’ve also learned invaluable information on what ways community, family and the workplace can all affect the aging process. From lowering our caloric intake, to listening to a morning meditation, this program shows how to take control of your life and how to offer information so that others can do the same. With information obtained this summer, I am now able to return to my community and spread knowledge and guidance to those who are willing to hear it, and play my own role in the betterment of my community, with the goal of lowering the prevalence of neurological diseases and supporting a healthy aging process.