The Physiological Society urges Government step change to meet its own Ageing Society target

October 15, 2019

The UK Government is at risk of missing its target to increase healthy life expectancy by five years by 2035, according to a new report, Growing Older, Better, published by The Physiological Society on Tuesday 15 October.

Healthy life expectancy, which is the number of years lived in good health, has not increased as quickly as life expectancy in recent decades, which means people are living more years in poor health. The UK Government's Industrial Strategy contains a target of "ensur[ing] that people can enjoy at least five extra healthy, independent years of life by 2035, while narrowing the gap between the experience of the richest and poorest".

This new report, which is the result of a project involving an expert panel of researchers, funders and public health policy makers, outlines concerns that the Government is too focused on responding reactively to ageing, rather than being proactive in challenging the ageing process itself.

The step change required to meet the government's target will require putting physiological research at the heart of the response. Physiological research into the processes underpinning ageing and age-related conditions as diverse as dementia and arthritis is key to providing answers to many of the questions that will need solving.

The report produced a number of key findings related to public health, including:The report includes a number of recommendations to keep people living healthier, for longer, including:For example, only 10% of those aged over 65 in the UK meet the Chief Medical Officer's recommendations for physical activity of 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week. This impacts not only muscle strength but has a significant impact on an older person's immune system. Research from physiologists at the University of Birmingham and UCL demonstrated that study participants who maintain high levels of physical activity throughout middle and older age had higher levels of immune hormones important for maintaining immunity. This immunity is important for vaccine efficacy, warding off infections and viruses and lowering cancer risk.

Speaking at the report's launch, Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock and Chair of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee noted:

"Having met a number of physiologists, including some of those who gave their time to support this report, I can attest that physiology is core to understanding the changes in how our bodies work as we age, which will be crucial in solving some of the major challenges of our generation. Understanding the causes of age-related diseases and frailty can result in lifestyle and medical interventions to allow people to keep contributing longer into their lifespan. This will have benefits for the individual by increasing their quality of life in older age as well as easing the burden on health and care systems."

Professor Paul Greenhaff, University of Nottingham and Chair of the Growing Older, Better Expert Group, added:

"Ensuring that we understand the current landscape and have a clear picture about what needs to change to ensure physiology is at the heart of meeting the challenges of an ageing society is a crucial first step."
-end-


The Physiological Society

Related Physical Activity Articles from Brightsurf:

Physical activity in the morning could be most beneficial against cancer
The time of day when we exercise could affect the risk of cancer due to circadian disruption, according to a new study with about 3,000 Spanish people  

Physical activity and sleep in adults with arthritis
A new study published in Arthritis Care & Research has examined patterns of 24-hour physical activity and sleep among patients with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and knee osteoarthritis.

Regular physical activity seems to enhance cognition in children who need it most
Researchers at the Universities of Tsukuba and Kobe re-analyzed data from three experiments that tested whether physical activity interventions lead to improved cognitive skills in children.

The benefits of physical activity for older adults
New findings published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports reveal how physically active older adults benefit from reduced risks of early death, breast and prostate cancer, fractures, recurrent falls, functional limitations, cognitive decline, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and depression.

Physical activity may protect against new episodes of depression
Increased levels of physical activity can significantly reduce the odds of depression, even among people who are genetically predisposed to the condition.

Is physical activity always good for the heart?
Physical activity is thought to be our greatest ally in the fight against cardiovascular disease.

Physical activity in lessons improves students' attainment
Students who take part in physical exercises like star jumps or running on the spot during school lessons do better in tests than peers who stick to sedentary learning, according to a UCL-led study.

Physical activity may attenuate menopause-associated atherogenic changes
Leisure-time physical activity is associated with a healthier blood lipid profile in menopausal women, but it doesn't seem to entirely offset the unfavorable lipid profile changes associated with the menopausal transition.

Are US adults meeting physical activity guidelines?
The proportion of US adults adhering to the 'Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans' from the US Department of Health and Human Services didn't significantly improve between 2007 and 2016 but time spent sitting increased.

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds do less vigorous physical activity
Children from disadvantaged backgrounds and certain ethnic minority backgrounds, including from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds, have lower levels of vigorous physical activity, according to researchers at the University of Cambridge.

Read More: Physical Activity News and Physical Activity Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.