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The Status Syndrome: How Social Standing Affects Our Health and Longevity

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2006

    groups yes, individuals not accounted for

    The Status Syndrome: How Social Standing Affects Our Health and Longevity is a rare book. It is both detailed and well researched, something that usually brings to mind a textbook and visions of eyelids drooping. In this case that is not true. I am not a health professional and usually health books put me to sleep. This book is a page-turner, a real surprise for me. My copy is underlined and highlighted profusely, a testement to my involvement and my attention to this subject of health and how status determines our quality of life. My regret is that Michael Marmot did not delve into the potential for an individual to raise his or her status by direct action or intent. If a father would like to raise the status of his children for instance, how would he plan for that in a five-year family plan, as an example? The question simply never comes up. The issue and problem is well defined in this book. Marmot did place recommendations on issues in the back of the book for governments and communities to address. But he conspicuously left out the individual in his recommendations on what to do. Perhaps this subject is something that is planned for a forthcoming book. As a retiree from the US Navy I can see so much of this subject better now after reading the book and I can also better relate to what I have not directly observed. I wonder what additional data Marmot would have gathered if he had studied the British Navy? Sailors in the British Navy have a 20-year length of service, something that would have given his data field more stability in length if I understand some of his testing methodologies. Perhaps he will evaluate them in the future? My query related to his investigation of the Royal Navy would include the often-observed phenomena of some retirees suffering an unusual frequency of severe health related issues soon after leaving the service, depending on his or her relationship with the service and the social relationships which are often severed upon ones retirement, which not only involved the physical departure from a unit but also often involves leaving the only job they know. Individuals reading this book come away with tons of questions. Perhaps a policy maker has the podium to implement a plan or a call for action that this book recommends. But individuals do not. The real missing portion of this book is just that, the personal human individual who would like to have more control over their life and set up their kids for something better as well. This question simply was not answered, an unfortunate oversight to an otherwise outstanding book on a topic which everyone should care about.

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