A Life Course Approach to Healthy Ageing
The life course epidemiological approach extends the WHO healthy ageing initiative by investigating how physical and mental capacities change across life; how they vary by birth cohort, socioeconomic position, gender, and ethnicity; and the extent to which experience and exposures earlier in life have long-term consequences for later life capacities, disability, and chronic diseases. This chapter summarises some of the social and biomedical factors from childhood that have long-term consequences for intrinsic capacities, and how a lower level and/or an accelerated decline in capacities during early and mid-adulthood can identify those at greatest risk of subsequent disability and disease. Promotion of healthy ageing requires preventive strategies that enhance capacities during growth and development, maintain them for as long as possible after maturity, and slow down their rate of decline.
KeywordsLife course epidemiology Healthy ageing Birth cohort study Intrinsic capacity Midlife prevention
Thanks to Dr. Rachel Cooper, Professor Rebecca Hardy, Professor Marcus Richards, and Professor Yoav Ben-Shlomo for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this chapter.
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