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 Disparities in late-life populations 

According to the World Health Organization, Ageism is the stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination against people on the basis of their age. Ageism is widespread and an insidious practice which has harmful effects on the health of older adults. For older people, ageism is an everyday challenge. Overlooked for employment, restricted from social services and stereotyped in the media, ageism marginalises and excludes older people in their communities.

Ageism is everywhere, yet it is the most socially 'normalized' of any prejudice, and is not widely countered – like racism or sexism. These attitudes lead to the marginalisation of older people within our communities and have negative impacts on their health and well-being.

Facts about ageing and health:

At the biological level, ageing results from the impact of the accumulation of a wide variety of molecular and cellular damage over time.

In developing a public-health response to ageing, it is important not just to consider approaches that ameliorate the losses associated with older age, but also those that may reinforce recovery, adaptation and psychosocial growth. (WHO, 2018)

  • Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world's population over 60 years will nearly double from 12% to 22%.
  • By 2020, the number of people aged 60 years and older will outnumber children younger than 5 years.
  • In 2050, 80% of older people will be living in low- and middle-income countries.
  • The pace of population ageing is much faster than in the past.

These data are vital to know because they indicate how little countries (and especially the United States) are to serve the healthcare needs of an increasingly ageing population. Not only this, but they further expose the need to push back against the extreme global prejudices concerning elderly persons.

Risks associated with older age:

hearing loss | cataracts | back/neck pain | osteoarthritis | pulmonary disease | diabetes | depression | dementia | injury from falling

Basic steps to decrease risks:

  • eating healthy foods
  • being active in brain and body
  • getting enough sleep
  • being open with providers about health concerns
  • make modifications to prevent accidents

 Resources for late-life populations 

 Disparities in early-life populations 

Ageism is prevalent not only in older adults; it affects adolescents and younger persons as well. Health and wellness are particularly affected by ageist attitudes and biases, and result in a proliferation of health care disparities.

These disparities are laid out in the 2007 National Institute for Health Care Management report, Reducing health disparities among children: Strategies and programs for health plans. As noted:

Reducing childhood health disparities is an important social goal for a number of reasons, especially due to the implications of child health on lifelong health and productivity in adulthood, and the costs associated with both. Social, environmental and political factors all influence the persistence of health disparities in the U.S. making the reduction and ultimate elimination of health disparities among children a complex responsibility for all of society.

Facts about early life and health:

There were an estimated 73.6 million children in the U.S. in 2016 (

  • 49% of whom belong to a racial or ethnic minority group
  • 677,120 are at risk of maltreatment
  • 20% live below the poverty line
  • 18% are classified as food insecure
  • 28% are not regularly immunized/vaccinated
  • 20% register as obese
  • 12% have had a major depressive episode within a year's time
  • 1.7 million live in close proximity to an unlocked, loaded gun (CHOP Research Institute, 2014)

 Resources for early-life populations