• John M. Cooper
  • David M. Koceja
Keywords: aging, genetics, life span, sociological, psychological, biological


The aging population in the United States, as well as throughout the world, is increasing at a dramatic rate. In the United States, for example, approximately 4.0 percent of the population were over the age of 65 years in 1900; whereas it is projected that 15-20 percent of the population will belong to this age category in the year 2000. Currently the state of Florida is the only state in which over 15 percent of the population is over the age of 65 years; it is projected that by the year 2020 thirty-one other states will also belong to this group. Even more striking is the number of individuals over the age of 75 years, as the average life expectancy is nearing 80 years. The purpose of this study is to review and summarize the current literature on the aged population. Included in this review are studies of the following aspects: the role of genetics in increasing the average life span, the sociological, psychological, and biological aspects of human aging. Also included in this review are the role of exercise and training in improving the quality of life in the aged population, as well as the role of diet, nutrition and medication. Specific emphasis was placed on the effect of training and performance as they relate to delaying the deleterious effects of aging. A comprehensive computer literature search for pertinent studies was performed, with emphasis being given to the most recent advances in the literature. Where appropriate, landmark studies from the past (e.g., older than 20 years) were included. Although the major part of the review consisted of studies conducted in the United States, studies from many countries were also included. In the final analysis, the researchers were interested in applying the results of this study to improve the quality of life of the aged population, and in dealing with the aged population from a variety of perspectives.