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Americans who turn 65 this year can expect, on average, another 19 years of life.

In 1950, they could expect five years fewer than that.

This should be uplifting news. Yet despite the stupendous pace of medical progress in the last six decades, those five extra years aren't exactly a longevity jackpot: We often spend them enfeebled or worse. Moreover, as of 2010 the only method scientifically proven to stretch life span in mammals is rigorous calorie restriction, or CR. If it turns out to work in humans as effectively as it already does in rodents, author David Stipp reports, CR "could raise life expectancy to nearly 120." Yet the notion of CR is largely a non-starter in the U.S., where much of the populace seems bent on eating itself into an early, double-wide grave.
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