The first findings of an on-going collaboration between the U.S. National Institute on Aging (NIA), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Network with Demographic Evaluation of Populations and Their Health (INDEPTH) were released yesterday on the journal Global Health Action.   The study looked at ageing populations in Bangladesh, Ghana, Indonesia, India, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Vietnam to provide an overview of the demographic and health characteristics in those countries.

So far, researchers have found that “people aged 50 years and over in the eight participating countries represent over 15% of the current global older population, and is projected to reach 23% by 2030”. It further finds that “being single, female, older, uneducated and poor are associated with poor health status and quality of life” and that “these characteristics were consistent indicators of health and state of well-being, although findings did vary among the countries studied”.

Reflecting on the study, the Director of NIA’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research states: ” We are only a few years away from a historic watershed — when for the first time in human history, those aged 65 and over in the world will outnumber those under age five … [e]ven though some of these countries are beginning to transition from infectious disease to noncommunicable disease as the major cause of morbidity and mortality, awareness of population aging is only now being recognized in developing countries”

The study has now been released to encourage further research into these countries and the data collected.  The NIA is also making funds available for additional research.

For additional information, see the full study.