Study reveals secrets of healthy aging
By Jan Wang

Health and happy seniorsA highly controversial study was released today that contradicts many long-held beliefs and practices. The study, released by the Harvard Study Group on Aging, has put health professionals, drug companies, fast-food franchises, and virtually the entire health industry into two bitterly opposed camps.

The controversary revolves around the study's major findings: that one can live to a healthy, ripe old age, stay out of hospitals and keep doctors at bay, providing one throughout a lifetime (our italics): eats a moderate, well-balanced diet; limits alcohol intake; doesn't smoke; gets plenty of rest and exercise: maintains a healthy outlook; and avoids situations where one could fall or get hit by something.

The leader of the Harvard study, Dr. Will Johnson, said, "It's as simple as that. We all know that a vast health industry has been built up over the past fifty years and more, catering to the millions of Americans who are sick from lousy diets and terrible lifestyles, The pill pushers, the herbal supplement racket, the fast/junk-food purveyers, will not like these results."

Dr. Solomon Fishbein, a spokesperson for the drug industry, which bitterly opposes the study's recommendations, said, "Well, maybe somebody, Ghandi perhaps, could follow such a regime all their lives, but most of them would die of boredom before they reach forty." 

Furthermore, he noted, "Everyone is subject to their genetic makeup. For example, if you are born with a bad gene that causes heart disease there is nothing that will save you from a heart attack later in life no matter what you eat or the lifestyle you follow. Your only hope to stave off an early death are designer drugs that target the bad gene and help the body compensate for its genetic deficiences."

Others representing the AMA, major food companies, the tobacco industry, fast-food outlets, distillers, and health food stores, echoed Dr. Fishbein's sentiments. One said, "The Health Industry is a 100 trillion dollar business. If everyone followed the study recommendations, the economy would literally fall to pieces and the U.S. would be reduced to third-world status on a par, say, with Canada and Bangladesh. Don't these Harvard eggheads live in the real world? Do they want that to happen? Gheez!" 
Jan Wang with Stanley Wiener, MD, senior Seniors Editor, Harvard Medical Review.

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