Life expectancy & other factors in the Western Pacific Region
Professor Alex Molasiotis explored health variables, epidemiological indicators and other factors in the first lecture of the Healthy Ageing lecture series.
James Cook University (JCU) in Singapore kicked off the Healthy Ageing lecture series on 25 February 2021 with a lecture on health variables, epidemiological indicators and “Years Lived in Disability and Mortality” in countries in the Western Pacific Region, and data for those 70-94 years old in the region, presented by Professor Alex Molasiotis – Chair Professor of Nursing, Endowed Professor in Health & Longevity and Head of School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Western Pacific Region is home to almost 1.9 billion people across 37 countries and areas – including Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and Southeast Asia. However, there is limited data on ageing epidemiological issues in this region, and the ageing population will put increased financial pressure on old-age support systems.
Through extensive research, it was revealed that the ageing population in the Western Pacific Region is increasing with significant health burdens – such as years lived in disability and mortality rates – particularly in less developed countries that may not be prepared to deal with this issue. More surprisingly, the findings showed that while the socioeconomic index is a key contributor to healthy ageing, health spending was not a key contributor to healthy ageing nor contributed significantly to mortality.
As ageing increases across all countries in the Western Pacific Region, so do the health burdens – especially from non-communicable diseases (NCDs), referring to diseases that are not transmissible directly from one person to another. Therefore, more effective management of NCDs is required, particularly at the community level.
In order to maximise the benefits and manage the risks associated with population ageing, governments should support continuing education and lifelong education – as well as healthcare for all – while promoting employment among women, the elderly, and others traditionally excluded from the workforce, including a gradual increase in the official retirement age. At the same time, family-friendly policies can help to facilitate work-life balance and increased gender equality in both the public and private life. We can also encourage savings behaviour and healthy lifestyles across the lifespan to improve the lives of older people, their families and their communities.
View the full recording of the webinar "Life expectancy & other factors in the Western Pacific Region".
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