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G8 Should Discuss World’s Over-60 Population To Develop Policies For ‘Healthy, Active And Productive Aging’

“Within five years, for the first time in history, the number of adults 65 and older will exceed the number of children younger than five, the World Health Organization reports,” “which is why the aging global population’s impact on social stability, economic growth and fiscal sustainability should be part of the agenda at next month’s Group of Eight summit,” Michael Hodin, an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and executive director of the Global Coalition on Aging, writes in a Washington Post opinion piece. “And yet, the agenda for the G8 summit appears deficient on the topic of how countries can work together to develop policy reforms that would create pathways for healthy, active and productive aging,” he writes, adding, “What’s needed are profound policy changes in health, education and urban living that facilitate an active aging.” 

Hodin makes several suggestions for economic, technological, educational, and scientific policy shifts, including “dedicat[ing] basic research-and-development funding to the big diseases of aging, such as Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease, and other impairments to active aging, such as vision deterioration and bone frailty.” He concludes, “If President Obama can be flexible enough to move the G8 meeting from Chicago to Camp David, he could direct administration officials who are crafting the agenda to add a topic that has such profound and far-reaching effects for our planet. How we organize ourselves, which institutions are relevant and where we spend our funding will be determined by our aging population. Surely that’s worthy of some discussion by the G8” (4/5).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.