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U.N.-Backed Report Says Countries Not Prepared For Growing Aging Population

“The world is aging so fast that most countries are not prepared to support their swelling numbers of elderly people, according to a global study … issued Tuesday by the United Nations and an elder rights group,” the Associated Press/Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. “The report ranks the social and economic well-being of elders in 91 countries, with Sweden coming out on top and Afghanistan at the bottom,” the news agency notes (Gelineau, 10/1). “Billed as the first comprehensive collection of data on factors such as health, income and the way in which older people are empowered, the Global AgeWatch Index said most were not prepared for the challenge of ensuring a secure future for older citizens,” Deutsche Welle adds (Connor, 10/1).

“However, if appropriate measures are implemented, population aging does not inevitably lead to significantly higher health care spending, according to the report, which highlights the importance of long-term investments in education and health care for older people,” The Guardian reports (Tran, 10/1). “The index, released on the U.N.’s International Day of Older Persons, compiles data from the U.N., [WHO], World Bank and other global agencies, and analyzes income, health, education, employment and age-friendly environment in each country,” the AP writes (10/1). “The aging index is calculated using 13 indicators under four headings: income security, health care, employment and education, and an enabling environment,” The Guardian adds (10/1). The Guardian’s “Data Blog” features an interactive map showing the best and worst places to grow old (Chalabi, 9/30).

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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.