Article

Aging Clinical and Experimental Research

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 113-131

Preventive health care for older women: Life-style recommendations and new directions

  • L. FerrucciAffiliated withDipartimento di Geriatria, INRCA Email author 
  • , E. BenvenutiAffiliated withDipartimento di Geriatria, INRCA
  • , B. BartaliAffiliated withDipartimento di Geriatria, INRCA
  • , S. BandinelliAffiliated withDipartimento di Geriatria, INRCA
  • , A. Di IorioAffiliated withInstitute of Gerontology, University of Chieti
  • , C. R. RussoAffiliated withOspedale S. Giovanni di Dio
  • , F. LauretaniAffiliated withInstitute of Gerontology, University of Firenze

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Abstract

One of the key paradoxes in gerontology is that, despite a higher longevity, aging women experience worse health and longer disability than men. However, there is growing evidence that changes in life-style, medical interventions and systematic screening for certain diseases may substantially reduce the excess risk of major chronic conditions and disability in aging women, and therefore improve the quality of their late life. The potentials and public health implications of prevention in older women have been recently emphasized, not only by the scientific literature, but also by the media. More and more women are turning to their primary care physicians or other health professionals to seek counselling and help on how to reduce the burden of chronic disease and disability in old age by quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, increasing physical activity, and coping with stress. Hormone replacement therapy also has a central role in this action of prevention. To maximize compliance, women should be provided a few guidelines that are easy to understand, and can be followed without interfering too much with their daily life activities. This article reviews the current literature on prevention in older women to select preventive strategies that are based on robust scientific evidence. This list of guidelines should be considered as a starting point for all those who are in charge of caring for middle-aged and older women.

Key words

Healthy diet older women physical activity prevention women health