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Medical self-care made easy: changes to make, tests to take, and how--arranged into a schedule that anyone can adopt without thinking too much. Louria's program of risk modification and screening aims to improve health without much strain; the variables he's concerned with are blood pressure, cholesterol level, smoking, pap smears, breast exam, bowel exam, weight, eye exam, and anemia. These are set out in a ""health calendar,"" according to age group; readers can then plot when the exams should take place, and whether the risks of their group warrant changes in smoking habits, weight, and the like. In justifying his plan, Louria challenges some currently accepted public-health views--with results that readers who have trouble making substantial lifestyle changes will appreciate. Many studies, he feels, have been mis- or over-interpreted (among them, Belloc and Breslow's 1972 Alameda County results which endorsed the seven health habits of eating breakfast, sleeping eight hours, and so on); we also place too much weight, he claims, on early study results that are only suggestive (e.g., that non-smokers are harmed by proximity to smokers). Louria is soft, too, on overweight (""for the most part a cosmetic and psychological problem"") and on exercise (claims of disease prevention are premature, he contends). Throughout, his emphasis is on disease detection rather than lifestyle changes. For receptive readers, Louria's simply laid-out, clearly-explained program is a good, small first step in health prevention; for those who want to make substantial changes and assume more control over their own well-being, Rumsey and Otteson's A Physician's Complete Guide to Medical Self-Care (K 1981, p. 1147) is still the book of choice.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1982
Publisher: Scribners