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Aging is Slowing Down, Says New Study

Posted: September 13, 2010

Spas and wellness centers have been preaching the benefits of health and wellness for longevity for years and it appears that, because people are paying more attention to these aspects of their lifestyles, more are enjoying longer, healthier and more productive lives. Because of this, policy changes may be made in the expectations of productivity for people that is currently dependent on chronological age, so it will be more important than ever in the future to maintain health and wellness. This type of information can be used when promoting health and wellness offerings in your spa.

Due to increasing life spans and improved health many populations are 'aging' more slowly than conventional measures indicate.

In a new study,1 to be just published in Science, scientists from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria, Stony Brook University, United States, (SBU), and the Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) have developed new measures of aging that take changes in disability status and longevity into account.

The results give policymakers faced with growing numbers of elderly new tools to more accurately determine the cost of an aging population and to determine more appropriate retirement ages. Currently, assessments are frequently based on United Nations aging forecasts that include the proportion of the population that is 65 and older, and the "old age dependency ratio" (OADR), which considers the number of people dependent on others when they reach age 65.

"Those measures are based on fixed chronological ages, and this can generate misleading results," says Warren Sanderson, PhD, from IIASA and SBU. "When using indicators that assume fixed chronological ages, it's assumed that there will be no progress in factors such as remaining life expectancies and in disability rates. But many age-specific characteristics have not remained fixed and are not expected to remain constant in the future."