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MEASURING AGING

How Well are We Aging

 

With the rapid progress of medical advances today, one would expect that our general health is improving at the same pace. Sadly this is not so.

Whilst more than 5,000 people in USA celebrate their 65th birthday every day, almost half of all aging Americans have a chronic condition. By 2030, this percentage is expected to increase to over 68% by 2030.

With our current lifestyles, almost half of older adults have high blood pressure and more than a third have arthritis and heart disease.

How well we are aging is measured using Biomarkers

 

Studies in How Well we are aging

This prompted state-wide the development of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to define healthy lifestyle characteristics (HLCs) and to generate a single indicator of a healthy lifestyle.

The study defined 4 HLCs:

  1. Non-smoking
  2. Healthy weight or body mass index - calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters of 18.5-25.0
  3. Consuming 5 or more fruits and vegetables per day, and
  4. Regular physical activity - at least 30 minutes 5 times per week

These 4 HLC’s together create a a single healthy lifestyle indicator or index with a range of 0-4.

When applied to 153,000 adults, only 3% of Americans can be defined a living a healthy lifestyle.

Apart from the health impact at the personal level, this escalating reduction in health is expected to cost $16 trillion by 2030.

With more open learning channels, including the Internet, we are more aware than ever of the cause of diseases and how best to prevent disease or care for ourselves when we are ill.

Health is a personal asset – how we invest in our health and how we manage our lifestyles largely determines the benefits we receive in maintaining a strong, flexible, healthy body.

Three of the most studied areas that adversely affect our aging are:

  1. Behavioural Factors
  2. Nicotine - Smoking and Aging
  3. Caffeine

NEXT: Biomarkers

 

 
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