Health & Longevity
Trends in Healthy Life Years
We have more and more evidences that while we are aging longer and longer (eventhough this tends to change for some segments of the population, such as whites in USA as per reference here) , the years we add are not all good years, and in fact we are adding bad years to our Life Expectancy, i.e. we while we live longer, we have even more years in unhealthy conditions, or with a disability that is affecting our quality of life.
The statistics for such evidences are of course difficult to obtain, are certainly subjected to many controversies (example here). But the raising rate of obesity, linked to diabetes, and the increasing difficulties to practice a healthy life-style in urban environment tend to make such claims fully plausible.
This is the meaning of the diagram attached to this paragraph: the green line will indicate a life-line in optimal conditions, the yellow one will indicate what we actually get, due to suboptimal health and environmental conditions, and the red line will indicate the measured degradation, as per data the EURSTATP
Detailed Data for the EU area are available at this site from the EU. clearly depicting this overall trend. But there is no clear agreement on the trajectory of ageing, especially in the western world, with some, such as this report of the Economist, basing their estimates on history, while others reflect the changes in nutrition, lifestyle, pollution and other factors, and end up to different conclusions.
In USA, reports on the death rate of the white population of 45-54 indicate a clear deterioration of the death rate, now getting tangibly higher than other countries with similar level of development.
Intervention Policies & "Microlives"
What can affect mortality, and how to minimize risks? The concept of microlife, a unit of risk representing half an hour change of life expectancy resulting different types of human activities such as driving a car, walking, eating a burger, etc..., will provide a good guidance. These units of microlife are based on epidemiological statistics of accidents, toxicology research, etc..., and the concept is presented in more details in this article of David Spiegelhalter, the inventor.
The table of this article of Wikipedia provides the quantification of the "Eat less-Move more" (plus the rest) type of recommendations on a healthier lifestyle, and is also well described in this video (here on micromort, the mirror concept but for mortality).
This calculator will also make the estimation of the impact of one's lifestyle on longevity possible!
Nutrition Ageing and Health
We all know what it takes to get a better, longer life: No smoking, more veggies, less fat and sugar, more exercise. Mitigating the effects of ageing has to result from a set of intervention policies addressing life-style and Nutrition, as depicted in this WHO report on Ageing and Health.
Cognition decline, a serious concern, can be mitigated through adequate health practices, such as: Physical activity, Mental activity, maintaining Social networks and Controlling of vascular risks: more on this in this video of Dr. Frankel, or on this Web-page here.....
Cost of Healthcare Systems and Sustainability
Most of our Healthcare systems generate high costs that are yearly increasing well beyond inflation, and that are therefore heading to bankrupcy, if not already there!
And.... they seems to deliver a heath care system that is unequal and divisive, as per this study!
As reported by the WEF, the effectiveness of new medications or the rise on non-communicable diseases can be indicators that with the present system, we have reached apoint of diminishing return.
In this repect, precision medicine, based on personal health-Data and Algorithms, should be a possible way to inprove efficiency of the healthcare system.
Obesity and Intervention Policies
From 1975 to 2016, the rate of obesity amongst children and adolescents was multiplied by 10 and has become a major challenge, and not only for developed countires. Recently published data from the New England Journal of Medicine, reviewed by the New-York Time, indicate a doubling of the rate of obesity in most countries, with an increase of the related death rate, despite progress of medicine in dealing with the side effects of diabete and hypertension. All this is coming with associated costs. Bad nutrition, strongly related to the low cost of junk food, is at the core of this pandemia. But dealing with this crisis will require a holistic portfolio of intervention policies, as described in this McKinsey report on overcoming obesity.
Health Technology Assessment (HTA)