A Prescription for Longevity in the 21st Century Renewing Purpose, Building and Sustaining Social Engagement, and Embracing a Positive Lifestyle
What guidance should clinicians offer parents of a newborn about how to prepare their child for a life that may last to 100 or more years? What should a physician discuss with adolescents who are beginning college, or young adults starting a new career about how to optimize their healthy life? How does this guidance change when individuals reach midlife and later life? Is there a prescription a physician should provide that would allow individuals at all stages of the life cycle to optimally align life span with health span, compressing morbidity and sustaining high functionality through the arc of life?
By 2030 all baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, will have become 65 years of age and comprise approximately 20% of the US population. In many Western European and Asian countries, the percentage of individuals older than 65 years will be closer to 40% of the population, and the average life expectancy of children born in high-income countries over the next decades is projected to increase to nearly 100 years.1 These substantial demographic changes will require that physicians and other clinicians think differently about how to support the longer lives of their patients, focusing on how to make them more meaningful and functional and less attenuated by the morbidities that lead to medical, social, and financial dependency.
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