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Dr Chris Whitty and Health in an ageing society

Dr Chris Whitty and Health in an ageing society

Most of our UK readers will associate Dr Whitty with the stream of press conferences during Covid, today he publishes the annual report on Health in an ageing society (link here).

We wanted to highlight some interesting research and observations from the report and help summarise for our readers. So here goes:

Quality not quantity.

As we all live longer society needs to focus on quality rather than quantity, advances in global health services have created massive advances in longevity. The downside is that in later life most people live with a number of underlying health conditions which usually started at a younger age. Most of these were linked to unhealthy lifestyle decisions earlier in our lives (Obesity, Smoking, increased alcohol consumption and lack of exercise).

Migration from Urban areas has impacted more rural areas ability to cope

It has long been desirable for older adults to move from the hussle of cities and move to more rural areas. Health service planning is typically focused on metropolitan areas so carers in rural areas (and services) are typically poorer than within cities. Lack of specialist housing, transport infrastructure and social support impact later life and drive isolation.

Independence is key

At any age we want to maintain independence but reducing frailty and disability is particularly important

Medicine isn't always the answer

Extending life through increasing medical treatment is a double edged sword - discuss interactively with your health professional the pros and cons of additional treatment.



Vetrano DL, Palmer K, Marengoni A, Marzetti E, Lattanzio F, Roller-Wirnsberger R, Lopez Samaniego L, Rodríguez-Mañas L, Bernabei R, and Onder G. Frailty and multimorbidity: a systematic review and metaanalysis (2019). The Journals of Gerontology: Series A. 2019;74(5):659–66.

Office for National Statistics (ONS), Population estimates for the UK, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland: mid-2021 (December 2022) [Internet].

Available from: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulation andcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/bulletins/annualmidyearpopulation estimates/mid2021 (Accessed 10/10/2023).