SIRC – Media Watch 09-04-99
Longevity: the 'Holy Grail' of the Health Profession.
This week, it would seem, we have much to be thankful for. Our future is in the safe hands of the health promotion industry who have set about the re-allocation of our calendar as a self-celebration of their successes. Having recently released figures that suggest that the average life expectancy of a US citizen has increased by 25 years since the beginning of the century, April 05-09 has now become Public Health Week. Their manifesto, as defined by The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): "the active protection of our nation’s health and safety, credible information to enhance health decisions, and partnerships with local communities and organisations to promote good health".
The World Health Organisation this week, seems intent on re-evaluating the public perception of old age by proposing "active ageing" as the primary message for this year’s World Health Day, on Wednesday. Their new campaign sets out to counter the contention that this century’s radical shift in demographics – the world’s elderly population has risen to 580 million, a figure predicted to increase to 1,000 million by 2020 – will lead to an increasingly economically dependent population whose health requirements may represent a major contributing factor to the burden placed on future societies by conditions such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
In few cases does it appear that the health profession’s utopian goal of longevity is ever subjected to scrutiny. USA Today presents a cogent argument to suggest that their continued mission to extend life-span may have far reaching social and economic implications which to date they have largely failed to address.