NEWS:

A new report, published today by the International Longevity Centre – UK finds that the baby boomers are more ‘aware and in charge’ of their own health, compared to the younger and older generation (1).

Based on a new survey of generational attitudes to health and responsibility, 75% of the 55-64 year group were both more aware of the importance of healthy living for a healthier older age and felt more ‘in charge’ of their day to day health (2).  This compared to only 62% of 16-24 year olds and  63% of those aged 65 and over who felt more ‘aware and in charge’ of their own health.

A generation, who epitomised hedonism in their early years, may be growing old more gracefully, than previously imagined and taking heed of public health campaigns.  More worryingly, younger people and those from lower socio economic groups feel less in control of their own health and furthermore are also least likely to engage with healthcare providers.

Such findings indicate significant challenges ahead for a Government that wants to nudge the public towards better public health. Baroness Greengross, Chief Executive of ILC-UK said:

“This report demonstrates the significant challenge facing public health campaigns, and the inequalities born from age and class that can influence health outcomes and behaviour.

It is worrying that some of the most disadvantaged and potentially disaffected amongst us feel they have little investment in their own health or indeed control over it. With such a strong correlation between social class and longevity, we need to mitigate against a public health lottery, and protect future generations.”

These findings are published ahead of today’s  ILC-UK and Actuarial Profession event: The Economics of Promoting Personal Responsibility for Improved Public Health – Saving Costs or Costing Society? The event is supported by Alliance Boots and will explore why public health has just got ‘personal’ and if such a trend will yield cost savings or cost some groups of society or sections of the economy more than others.

The event will also mark the launch of a report produced by Professor David Taylor and Dr Jennifer Gill from the UCL School of Pharmacy, supported by Alliance Boots entitled ‘Active Ageing: Live longer and prosper? Towards realising a second demographic dividend in 21st century Europe’.

ENDS


About ILC-UK: The International Longevity Centre-UK is the leading think tank on longevity and demographic change. It is an independent, non-partisan think-tank dedicated to addressing issues of longevity, ageing and population change. We develop ideas, undertake research and create a forum for debate.


Notes:

1. The report, ‘Population Ageing: Pomp or Circumstance’ was funded by an unconditional grant from Alliance Boots and is available to download from the ILC-UK website at: http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/population_ageing_pomp_or_circumstance

2. The survey for ILC-UK also found that:

  • People in lower social classes are around 40 per cent less likely than those in the highest social class to agree that they are more in charge of their own health more than other parties including the government, their hospital or GP, after controlling for other factors.
     
  • Those who are in the youngest age groups and who are in the lower social classes are those least likely to fall within the ‘aware and in charge’ group.75 per cent of those in the top social class (AB) were classed as ‘aware and in charge compared to 63% in social class C2.


3. In March 2012, almost 1000 adults were surveyed by GfK-NOP on three interrelated topics around healthy ageing and personal responsibility for health, older people and working longer, as well as general perceptions around an ageing society.

4. The UCL report on Active Ageing: Live longer and prosper? Towards realising a second demographic dividend in 21st century Europe’ is also available to download from the UCL website.

5. ILC-UK and the Actuarial Profession Debate: The Economics of Promoting Personal Responsibility for Improved Public Health – Saving Costs or Costing Society? Supported by Alliance Boots will be held at The Actuarial Profession, Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ 16:00 for 16.30 start, 25th April 2012.

6. About ILC-UK: The International Longevity Centre-UK is the leading think tank on longevity and demographic change. It is an independent, non-partisan think-tank dedicated to addressing issues of longevity, ageing and population change. We develop ideas, undertake research and create a forum for debate.

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