Aging experts promote global effort to improve healthy longevity

Across the world, more people are living longer. But "whether the extra years will be good ones -- and whether societies and economies will benefit as a result -- depends on the actions we take now," states an editorial in a new supplemental issue of the Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences from The Gerontological Society of America.

This issue, titled "Healthy Longevity 2019," was supported by AARP. It contains 11 articles that examine enablers of healthy longevity as well as the accompanying opportunities and challenges.

Today's boomers, in their 50s-70s, and members of generation X, in their 40s-50s, are at critical stages of their lives in determining their health spans. A societal embracing of a paradigm shift -- the understanding that as the potential for longevity increases, so does the importance of health-related behaviors at all ages (including middle and older ages) -- could extend health span and make aging an opportunity rather than an adversity."

Thomas T. Perls, MD, FGSA, and Erwin J. Tan, MD, guest editors

The lead article is an editorial titled "Creating a Global Roadmap for Healthy Longevity," by National Academy of Medicine (NAM) President Victor J. Dzau, MD, and AARP CEO Jo Ann C. Jenkins, BS.

They discuss NAM's recent launch of The Global Roadmap for Healthy Longevity initiative, which will bring together international leaders in science, medicine, health, engineering, technology, economics, and policy to gather and assess evidence around strategies for extending health spans worldwide. By late 2020, the initiative will produce a report that can serve as a prioritized 10-year action plan adaptable to local contexts. (This coincides with the World Health Organization's Decade of Healthy Aging.)

"The opportunity to live longer, healthier, more productive lives is one of humankind's greatest accomplishments," Dzau and Jenkins wrote. "Fully capitalizing on such an unprecedented opportunity will require the input and buy-in of public and private stakeholders worldwide. It will require commitment to innovation across all sectors of society, from the personal, private, and public."

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