Live Longer, Live Healthier

Miércoles, 27 Diciembre 2017 18:01

 

Europe is getting older, it's hard but it's true. The European population is ageing rapidly; but living longer does not necessarily mean living healthier, more active and independent. The number of Europeans over 65 will double in the next 50 years, and the number of over 80's will almost triple. Life expectancy will continue to increase, yet unhealthy life years make up around 20% of a person's life.

Health is a fundamental aspect of quality of life, not only because being free from illness or injury directly affects our capacity to enjoy life, but also because health indirectly affects our capacity to produce and consume other valuable goods and services.

Historical data shows that global life expectancy has increased drastically over the last couple of centuries. 200 years ago there were less than one billion humans living on earth. Today, according to UN calculations there are over 7 billion of us[1]. Recent estimates suggest that today’s population size is roughly equivalent to 6.5% of the total number of people ever born[2]. This is the most conspicuous fact about world population growth: for thousands of years, the population grew only slowly but in recent centuries, it has jumped dramatically. Between 1900 and 2000, the increase in world population was three times greater than during the entire previous history of humanity—an increase from 1.5 to 6.1 billion in just 100 years!

We can explain this tendency thought the model called ‘demographic transition’.[3] It refers to the transition from high birth and death rates to lower birth and death rates as a country or region develops from a pre-industrial to an industrialized economic system[4]. In most European countries we are in phase 4, where both birth rates and mortality rates are low, leading to an increasingly aging society.

One of the major problems related to the increase in life expectancy is the appearance of age-related diseases,[5] which directly influences the increase in health expenditure. But as we have already said, why live longer if we are not going to enjoy it? In the face of this great issue, political mechanisms and initiatives have started to explore the path to help us live longer and live better.

In Europe this priority is being addressed by the European innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP AHA). Active and healthy ageing is a societal challenge shared by all European countries, but also an opportunity. It is a chance for Europe to establish itself as a global leader that is capable of providing innovative solutions.

It pursues a Triple Win for Europe:

• Improving the health and quality of life of Europeans with a focus on older people;
• Supporting the long-term sustainability and efficiency of health and social care systems;
• Enhancing the competitiveness of EU industry through business and expansion in new markets.

“Live longer, live healthier” is a challenge that affects us all and it is everyone's job to come up with solutions that make us enjoy in a healthy way every year of our lives.

H2020, the R&I financial instrument of the European Commission seeks winners who want to accept the challenge of building a world in which we can live more and better. Hospitals, large and small companies, patient associations, universities and research centers ... we are all invited to join this opportunity to contribute to make us happier!

At RTDI we have helped many entities to make their dreams come true and to put them at the service of society, contributing to the common good and starting to leave a legacy that we all feel proud of. Now is your turn to change the wordl!

Reyes Sansegundo Romero – Proposals Coordinator and R&I Consultant

 

[1]  https://ourworldindata.org/world-population-growth/#note-1

[2]  https://ourworldindata.org/world-population-growth/#note-2

[3]  https://ourworldindata.org/

[4]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_transition

[5]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aging-associated_diseases

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