Intended for healthcare professionals


Socioeconomic adversity—an important barrier to healthy aging

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 23 March 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k1288
  1. Rachel Cooper, senior lecturer
  1. MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL, London WC1B 5JU, UK
  1. rachel.cooper{at}

Urgent action required to address socioeconomic inequalities in aging populations

As the global population ages there is concern that improvements in disability-free life expectancy might not have kept pace with the improvements in life expectancy that have driven this major demographic trend over the past century. This has important implications for individuals, families, and society; not least because it might prevent realisation of the potential opportunities of an aging population.1 Identifying the most effective targets for intervention to ensure that people live not only longer lives but also healthier, independent lives for longer is therefore an international research priority.2

It is within this context that, in a linked article (doi:10.1136/bmj.k1046), Stringhini and colleagues have assessed the associations of low socioeconomic status and six other non-communicable disease risk factors with walking speed in later life. The authors selected these six other factors as they had been identified by the World Health Organization as targets for reducing premature mortality from chronic diseases by 25% by …

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