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Winter 2011

Stay Healthy at Every Age

What your doctor wants you to know

By: Neil A. Grauer
Date: February 18, 2011

Stay Healthy at Any Age

Shantanu Nundy, MD

(The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010)

Usually, advice on how to stay healthy is conveyed from mother to child—or so adults often are reminded by the cliché: “Your mom was right about (fill-in-the-blank).”

The origin of Stay Healthy at Every Age, by Shantanu Nundy ’08, was indeed a mother-child conversation—but one in which it was the concerned son, a Hopkins medical student thoroughly updated on preventive medicine, who was eager to advise his diabetic mother on how to monitor her health better and stay fit.

“Much to my surprise, even though my mother saw a doctor regularly and had health insurance, many of these recommendations were new to her,” Nundy writes. Nundy realized that what his mother really needed was a preventive health checklist—and discovered that he could not find exactly what his mother wanted.  So he decided to compile such a checklist himself. He proposed it as a book to the Hopkins Press, suggesting it as an excellent way to put evidence-based preventive medicine knowledge into the hands of “everyday folks.”

It is.

Begun when he was a medical student at Hopkins, Stay Healthy at Every Age features three parts: an overview of preventive health, including a description of how to make the most of the information that follows; eight detailed checklists designed for every age group, from infants to 65 and over; and 23 chapters describing a wide range of the preventive medicine services that cover the specialties—from abdominal aortic aneurysm screening to vaccines for adults—on the checklists for each reader’s age group. (Nundy thanks 23 members of the Hopkins faculty for reviewing the chapters that cover their areas of expertise.)

Nundy notes that an estimated 100,000 lives could be saved annually in the United States if 90 percent of respective age groups and affected individuals took aspirin daily, stopped smoking, got a flu vaccine, and underwent colorectal and breast cancer screening. Stay Healthy at Every Age does a terrific job of explaining why.