This month, the US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Aging, US Census Bureau and the US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration released the An Aging World 2015: International Population Reports1

This report confirms the pace and escalation of an aging society, and one that is outpacing the younger population over the next 35 years. In 2015 there were 7.3 billion people worldwide and 8.5% or 617 million aged 65 and older.1 This number is expected to exponentially increase to more than 60% in the next 15 years.1 In 2030, there will be approximately 1 billion older people world-wide, an equivalency of 12% of the total global population.1 The global aging population in 2050 is expected to increase to 16.7% or 1.6 billion people – this dramatic escalation will account to an average annual increase of 27.1 million older people from 2015 to 2050.1

US life expectancy at birth and after age 65 falls behind other high and middle income countries. America is identified in this report as the American Wealthhealth Paradox, one of the wealthiest larger countries but not the healthiest.1 Smoking, obesity and hypertension contribute to the increase in female mortality over men. American men and women living in the poorer southern states have lower health, life expectancy than elsewhere in the US.1

Chronic conditions will continue to contribute to morbidity and mortality rates in the US and the epidemic of obesity in Americans 50 and older is the highest when compared to other high income countries.1 The prevalence of obesity has markedly increased in the US since the 1970s and is higher in earlier ages than other high income counties – and currently accounts for 30% of lower life expectancy in America.1

Attributes of the Affordable Care Act, now in its 6th year are to ensure patient and provider Shared Decision Making, empower patients through Self-Management and begin to focus on a new culture of health, wellness and community collaboration to ensure best possible practices. This together with the requirement of transparent quality and value metrics – should promote a new approach to health care and one that has a focus on quality rather than quantity and individualized attention to specific patient behavioral indicators that drive costly care and contribute to poor quality of life.

  1. He, W., Goodkind, D., & Kowal, P. (2016). An Aging World 2015: International Population Reports. US Department of Commerce