• Maartje Schermer
  • Wim Pinxten
Part of the Ethics and Health Policy book series (EHP, volume 1)


Western societies are aging. Over the past two centuries, it has become clear that life expectancy can increase significantly under the influence of human interventions in physical health, the environment (including socio-economical conditions), and personal lifestyle. For example, in the course of the twentieth century, there has been a gain in life expectancy of about 30 years in Western Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Some countries, most renown Japan, have even experienced an even higher increase in life expectancy. (Christensen 2009) The increase in life expectancy and related demographic changes in affluent societies are ongoing, and can be expected to rise further in the future. In addition, Western societies can most likely be regarded as a sneak preview of what is to happen elsewhere in the world.


Healthy Aging Aging Society Life Extension Demented Patient Good Aging 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Christensen, K., G. Doblhammer,  R. Rau, and J.W. Vaupel. 2009. Aging populations: The challenges ahead. The Lancet374(9696):1196–1208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical Ethics and Philosophy of MedicineErasmusMC/University Medical Center RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands

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