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Anti-Aging National Survey

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A national survey conducted in 2001 found that eighty percent of older Americans are subjected to ageist stereotypes (Palmore, 2001). These stereotypes, which have led to "anti-aging" products, can be found in many places including the media, health care, the workplace, and in day to day conversations. The "anti-aging" products are part of a growing culture that views aging and the aging process as negative and undesirable. The products can include over-the-counter drugs, hormone and steroid supplements, plastic surgery, diet fads, topical creams, and books and videos that offer advice on ways to keep from growing old. Businesses that promote "anti-aging" cures and miracles reinforce the idea that beauty is only possible through the appearance of youth (Wilkinson & Ferraro, 2002). A National Consumer's League survey revealed that approximately 90 million Americans currently use or have used products or have undergone procedures in attempts to hide physical signs of aging (National Consumers League, 2004).The U.S. market for anti-aging products and services in 2004 grew to $45.5+ billion. With an annual increase of 8.5-9.5 percent this market is projected to reach nearly $72 billion by the end of the fiscal year (Business Communications Company, 2005). Although it is possible to overcome these stereotypes it is a difficult task when they operate without our awareness. With plastic surgery becoming more and more prevalent the message sent is often to avoid getting old at all costs. Working in industries where women are often considered "old" in their 30's and men in their 50's, actors, actresses, models, and media personalities are all too familiar with the pressure to preserve the beauty of their youth. However, age discrimination is not restricted to the media as is evident in the stories of older people who "hide their age" in effort to pass as younger than they are. In fact, in an attempt to hide their age and to be more marketable, it is becoming common practice to leave dates off of ones resume. Not only is this "anti-aging" movement negative, it is dangerous as well given that most of the consumers of these products get their information from questionable sources, such as television ads, instead of from medical professionals. In fact, the National Consumers League survey found that less than 25% of the respondents got their information through their doctors.

References:

Business Communications Company. (2005). Anti-aging products and services: The global market. [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.bccresearch.com/report/HLC060A.html

National Consumers League. (2004). New survey reveals consumers confused about, but overwhelmingly use, antiaging products and procedures. [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.nclnet.org/news/2004/antiaging.htm

Palmore,

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