largest segment of the U.S. population, the “baby boomers,” are moving into middle adulthood and, in some cases, even becoming grandparents.

he largest segment of the U.S. population, the “baby boomers,” are moving into middle adulthood and, in some cases, even becoming grandparents. The advertising and marketing industries study this age cohort, and it has been increasing in visibility in primetime television, print ads, and in digital advertising, pop-ups, and internet solicitation. Find at least 4 images or video clips of advertising or other popular media that illustrate this point. Use a caption for each piece of media to explain the advertisements mirror the specific physical and cognitive changes in development referred to in this Chapter 15. Your captions should combine for a total of no fewer than 500 words. Use at least 2 resources (other than the images or clips) to support the claims you are making. Cite these using APA formatting. Possible points Student points Your provided at least 4 images or clips with captions. 20 Your captions combined were at least 500 words long. 20 You demonstrated a clear understanding of the issues facing middle adults. 40 You supported your work with at least 2 references, cited in APA formatting 10 Your work was free of spelling and grammar errors. 10 100 he idea that there is a “middle” phase in adult life is a rather modern idea. Most non-Western and preindustrial cultures recognize only a mature stage of adulthood, from about 25 to about 60 years old, followed by a stage of old-age decline. Many Western scientists (including the authors of this book) now recognize four stages of adult life: young adulthood (approximate age range from 19 to 34); middle adulthood (approximate age range from 35 to 64); young elderly (approximate age range from 65 to 79); and old elderly (80+). One non-Western country that does recognize middle adulthood is Japan. The Japanese word for middle age, sonen, refers to the “prime of life,” the period between early adulthood and senility. Another quite positive word often used for the middle-adult years in Japan is hataraki-zakari, meaning the “full bloom of one’s working ability.” Not all Japanese words for middle adulthood are quite so joyful. The word kanroku means “weightiness” or “fullness,” both as in bearing a heavy load of authority and in being overweight. Why do you suppose industrialized cultures such as North America and Japan have several words for middle adulthood, and other cultures have no words at all? PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better!” You may hear middle-aged people saying this to each other. They hope that the changes they are experiencing are minor and not too negative, but let’s face it, physical systems do decline with age. As you will see, biological forces greatly influence physical development, but be on the lookout for ways that psychological and social forces are at work as well. Now let us take a closer look at some of these functions. Health In general, concerns about health rise in the middle years. For example, a person’s image of what he or she will be like in the future becomes increasingly health-related in midlife. This is not to say that middle-aged people are sickly. Their worries probably occur because they experience a greater number of serious illnesses and deaths of their loved ones than do younger people, and the changes in their bodies are more abrupt than in the bodies of young adults. basal metabolism rate (BMR) The minimum amount of energy an individual tends to use when in a resting state. As one moves into middle adulthood, weight gain becomes a matter of concern. For example, about one-half of the United States adult population weighs over the upper limit of the “normal” weight range. For some, this is the result of genetic inheritance—about 40% of the people with one obese parent become obese, as compared with only 10% of those whose parents are not obese (CDC, 2000b). Others become overweight simply because they do not compensate for their lowering basal metabolism rate (BMR). self-fulfilling prophecy An idea that comes true simply because one believes that it will. BMR is the minimum amount of energy an individual tends to use when in a resting state. As you can see from″>Figure 15.1, this rate varies with age and sex. Males have a slightly higher rate than females do. The rate drops most quickly during adolescence and then more slowly during adulthood. This is caused by a drop in the ratio of lean body mass to fat, thus lowering your BMR. Therefore, if you continue to eat at the same rate throughout your life, you will definitely gain weight. If you add to this a decreased rate of exercise, the weight gain (sometimes called “middle-age spread,” referring to wider hips, thicker thighs, a “spare tire” around the waist, and a “beer belly”) will be even greater. If you expect this to happen, it probably will (a self-fulfilling prophecy). Page 397FIGURE 15.1 The decline of basal metabolism rate through the life cycle. BMR varies with age and sex. Rates are usually higher for males and decline proportionally with age for both sexes.” alt=”image”> Cardiovascular Health” alt=”image”> An interesting book on this topic is Janet Woititz’s Adult Children of Alcoholics (1990). Lexington, MA: Health Communications. Woititz describes the characteristics of the adult children of alcoholics but insists that these are not character defects. This book provides readers with basic tools that will enable them to achieve greater self-knowledge and understanding. Cardiovascular reaction to stressful challenges is normal (Kamarck et al., 2000; Manuck et al., 2000). Robinson & Cinciripini (2006) investigated reactions that are not typical. They examined the combined impact of smoking and stress on cardiovascular functioning, using a control group of nonsmokers. Not surprisingly, they concluded that smoking and stress contribute to increased risk of heart disease. Effects of Alcohol Even one or two drinks each day can be dangerous for anyone over the age of 50, because they can cause enlargement of the left ventricle of the heart. Such enlargement causes the heart to work harder and can often cause irregular heartbeats. If a person’s heart is already enlarged, the danger is even greater. These data come from the Framingham (Massachusetts) Heart Study, which has furnished additional findings at”>–3lcYfIcp9b5ZJr6sHK3lx1_thZ55Ha-pHkSA51BI0F-0ZV8u-Xdbuhz3XldkMcT3mtC6M9I=s0-d-e1-ft#” alt=”image”> AN APPLIED VIEW Food Imbalances Since the beginning of human history, humans have tended to maintain a well-balanced diet. Only in the last century has this healthy balance been seriously tipped. An important example of this imbalance is the difference between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The first type is found in fish, nuts, and some vegetables. The second type is found in prepared foods, especially those made with corn and safflower oils. Whereas we used to eat as much fish as prepared foods, now most of us eat much more of the latter. Omega 6 acids can lead to clogged arteries. In the chart below, the chief sources of the two fatty acids are listed. It is also possible to increase consumption of omega-3s by taking supplements in various forms. Omega-3 Omega-6 salmon Prepared foods made with tuna corn oil herring canola oil sardines cotton seed oil mackerel safflower oil trout soybeans in any form halibut Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2004. Page 398Muscular Ability Muscle growth is complete in the average person by age 17, but improvements in speed, strength, and skill can occur throughout the early adult years. In fact, most people reach their peak around age 25, depending on one’s sex and the type of activity. In the middle period of adulthood (35 to 64) there is a common but unnecessary decline in muscular ability, and the current popularity of aerobic activities may be reversing the trend in middle- age weight gain and muscle loss. Aerobic activity such as swimming and brisk walking appears to help maintain general health because it demands that the heart pump a great deal of blood to the large muscles of the legs. Sensory Abilities Although the stereotyped image of an older person losing hearing or vision is sometimes amusing, the gradual loss of function of one of the five physical senses vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch—is a serious concern for all of us. We often take everyday experiences such as reading, driving a car, enjoying a good meal, or holding a child in our arms for granted, yet all these experiences depend on one or more of the five senses. What changes in sensory ability can we expect as we pass through middle adulthood? The following trends are only general and vary widely among individuals. Vision” alt=”image”> Because of changes in the eye that occur when we reach our 40s, glasses are often necessary. Why do you think adults put off getting sensory assistance, such as glasses or hearing aids, for as long as possible? Vision is the sense that we most depend on for information about what’s going on around us. The eye begins to change physically at about age 40. The lens becomes less elastic and more yellow. At age 50 the cornea is increasing in curvature and thickness and the iris begins to respond less well to light (Whitbourne, 1999, 2000, 2001a, 2001b). What happens as a result of these changes? In general, our eyes don’t adapt to sudden, intense light or darkness as effectively as they once did. The ability to focus on nearby objects decreases, leading to a diagnosis of farsightedness and possibly a prescription for bifocals. The ability to detect certain colors can also be hampered as the lens yellows. For most people, these changes in visual ability pose a problem only when lighting is reduced, such as in night driving. Hearing Hearing also seems to be susceptible to decline at about age 40. This is when we begin to lose the ability to detect certain tones, particularly high frequencies (Whitbourne, 1999, 2000, 2001a, 2001b). Our ability to understand human speech also appears to decrease as we grow older, such as the inability to hear certain consonants. Cognitive capacity may play a role, because the ability to listen to speech in a crowded environment declines faster than the ability to listen to someone alone with no background noise. It seems our visual system is a more reliable sense than our auditory system, as deafness in the United States appears to be increasing. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (2001) reported that noise-induced hearing loss is the second most reported occupational illness or injury. Cross-cultural studies have shown that our relatively loud, high-tech culture contributes to our society’s general loss of hearing. Smell olfactory sense Sense of smell, which uses the olfactory nerves in the nose and tongue. Although not used as often as vision or hearing, the olfactory sense does more than just tell us when dinner is ready. First, the olfactory sense works closely with our taste buds to produce what we think of as the “taste” of a given food. In fact, it is difficult in studies to separate which sense—taste or smell—actually contributes to the decline in performance on a certain task.

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