Chapter

A Systematic Review of Key Issues in Public Health

pp 129-151

Date:

Public Health Gerontology and Active Aging

  • Andrea PosciaAffiliated withInstitute of Public Health, Section of Hygiene, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Email author 
  • , Francesco LandiAffiliated withInstitute of Gerontology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
  • , Agnese CollamatiAffiliated withInstitute of Gerontology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

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Abstract

As a consequence of the reduction in birth rate and of the progressive increment in life expectancy, the population of Western nations is aging at a rate even faster than demographers’ projections with an unprecedented appearance of centenarians and super-centenarians. The peculiar aspects in this “epidemiological transition” require up-to-date knowledge to face a new type of “patient” and a joint effort of health professionals to target the negative aspects of aging, with a renewed attention toward primary prevention interventions, especially on the main modifiable risk factors. Currently, many studies underline how interventions targeting modifiable risk factors are cost-effective, and can potentially lead to cost reduction for health care organizations and society. From 2002, the World Health Organization (WHO) has defined the concept of “active aging” as “the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age,” but in the past years the “active aging” notion has evolved, pointing out that the aspects related with the promotion of healthy lifestyles must be started at an early age, but they are not able alone to guarantee a successful senescence and must be accompanied to a particular attention to the social and cultural aspects. This chapter aims to review the current evidences regarding the new challenge represented by the public health gerontology, helping health professionals and stakeholders to promote active aging and taking care of an aging population.

Keywords

Active aging Healthy aging Longevity Epidemiologic transition Aged Life expectancy Oldest old Prevention Policy