In the News
In the Know
My mother-in-law never met Dr.
George W. Calver. ; She lives in Argentina. Calver
The 5 Percent Solution
nerves. He also gained acclaim for developing what he called the
10 Commandments of Health.
He posted them on placards displayed throughout the Capitol.
They were printed on wallet-size cards and distributed to every
member of Congress with this admonition: “If a man wishes to be on
the job and physically fit, he must obey the following simple rules.”
A continent away, my mother-in-law has followed Dr. Calver’s
protocol almost to the letter. She understands the importance of
good health, she is blessed with good genes, she knows how to relax
and how to play, and last month she celebrated
her 100th birthday.
She has lived an extraordinary, busy and fulfill-
ing life. When she was born, her parents could nei-
ther read nor write. Yet she and her husband put
a premium on education, and each of her children
earned advanced degrees. She owned and oper-
ated a small book and paper goods store in Buenos
Aires long before women were running businesses.
Amazingly, her first day in the hospital was at age 97.
She was especially attentive to the commandment
Dr. Calver added to the wallet card. “Give 5 percent
of your time to keeping well. You won’t have to give
100 percent getting over being sick.”
She understands prevention and the common sense
that goes with it. She walked great distances, eats well
and never smoked. We should follow her example,
especially as we confront the nation’s soaring cost of health care.
There may be no more effective cost containment tool than indi-
vidual effort to take the crucial and obvious preventive steps that
mitigate the onset of chronic disease.
By any measure, it’s an essential investment. For example, four
diseases associated with obesity and smoking—diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke—today cost $238 billion a year ($134
billion of it paid by Medicare and Medicaid). Seventy percent of
the nation is regarded as overweight. No surprise that the Urban
Institute forecasts that the rapid increase of these conditions will
add another $466 billion to the total cost by 2030—without inflation!
We may not be able to reduce what we’re paying for chronic disease today. Let’s start today to focus on tomorrow. The cost of
failure is simply unacceptable. Dr. Calver knew that. So does my
mother-in-law. —Jim Toedtman, Editor
was the U.S. Congress’ first appointed doctor, hired
in 1928 at a time when senators and representatives
were dying at the rate of 20 a year. ; Over the 38
years that followed, his prescription
of moderation calmed congressional
ON THE COVER: GETTY IMAGES ( 4); INSET: LUC HAUTECOEUR/GETTY IMAGES; THIS PAGE: LIBRARY OF CONGRESS; FUZZIM.COM
THE 10 COMMANDMENTS OF HEALTH
CHECK UP OCCASIONALLY.
AARP Bulletin January-February 2012, Volume 53, No. 1 (USPS Number 002-900; ISSN 1044-1123) is published monthly except February and August by AARP, 601 E St. N.W., Washington, DC 20049 (telephone: 1-888-687-2277). Internet site: aarp.org/bulletin, “The Newspaper of 50-Plus America.”
Sales and Marketing Offices: AARP Publications, 780 3rd Avenue, 41st Floor, New York, N Y 10017. One membership includes spouse/partner. Annual membership dues are $16.00, including $4.03 for an annual subscription to AARP THE MAGAZINE and $3.09 for an annual subscription to the
AARP Bulletin. A three-year membership is $43; a two-year membership is $30. Dues outside domestic US mail limits: $17 a year for Canada/Mexico; $28 for other international countries. Periodicals postage paid at Washington, D.C., and at additional mailing offices. Canadian Publications Mail
Agreement Number: 40030163 Return undeliverable addresses to AARP, 2835 Kew Drive, Windsor, ON N8T 3B7. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to AARP Bulletin, c/o AARP, P.O. Box 199, Long Beach, CA. 90801. AARP Bulletin is a registered trademark of AARP. Entire contents copyright ©
2012 by AARP. Printed in the USA. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent policies of AARP and should not be construed as endorsements. The mention of a product or service herein is solely for information to our readers and may not be used for any commercial purpose. AARP,
which was established in 1958, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with millions of members ages 50 and older. State offices are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.