Time to Reset the Prevention Agenda

Dr Cother Hajat

Age-Specific Interventions for the Second Half of Life

Although global mortality has continued to fall, this has been accompanied by increasing morbidity from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and age-specific conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia, untreated mental health conditions, and musculoskeletal disorders.

In order to promote health and longevity, and achieve the maximal possible compression of morbidity, interventions must be considered in age-specific contexts across the lifespan, from early childhood through adolescence, adulthood, and old age.

With advancing age comes changes in health status, health risks, and functional status. Currently, a lack of age-specific recommendations for older adults account for these changes and underlying cumulative risks.

This paper summarizes available scientific evidence to synthesize recommendations that favourably influence morbidity and mortality for older adults each decade over 50. Recommendations outline specific types of exercise, dietary patterns, and other interventions to promote healthy aging throughout adulthood and old age. These recommendations will require ongoing refinement. In order to do so, investment is needed in research to fill the many gaps informing them. Furthermore, personalized approaches to healthy aging must be complemented with population-wide approaches such as incorporating changes to the physical environment, emerging technologies, and advances in behavioral economics and genomic predictions. Broad cross-sector partnerships will aid these efforts and help ensure greater longevity is an opportunity, rather than a burden, for society.

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