On November 2nd- 4th, Adrienne attended the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum GFC for Longevity for the 2019-2020 term. The Co-chairs of the GFC for Longevity are Debra Whitman, Chief of Policy for AARP, and Victor Dzau, President of the National Academy of Medicine. The GFC on Longevity is fortunate to have representation from the leading academic, multilateral, and nonprofit organizations and industry. The World Economic Forum provides a venue to bring these organizations together, setting the scene for private and public sector collaboration and promoting interdisciplinary thinking on global challenges.

As populations age, governments typically focus on preventing or funding the treatment of specific, high cost diseases and on keeping pension plans funded. While these are both important concerns and can have a significant impact on national budgets, a narrow view toward planning for aging populations leads to a game of financial catch-up and will not adequately help societies meet the needs of older populations, nor will it promote the healthy behaviors and lifestyles that can mitigate the financial costs of population aging.

Given these challenges, the council was tasked with addressing 1) social determinants of health for aging and, and 2) promoting healthy longevity by reducing the risks for cognitive decline and dementia.

Toward this end, the GFC on Longevity decided that the best way to influence social determinants of health on a grand scale is to involve industries beyond healthcare, including technology, urban development, energy and transportation, media, and data analytics, and create a call to action for their investment and involvement in a global healthy longevity agenda. We will do this by raising awareness and driving actions on healthy longevity both on the World Economic Forum’s agenda and on the global stage. With each organization already promoting the tenets of health longevity through their own organizations’ activities, GFC on Longevity members will leverage existing events, activities, and strategies to mutually amplify our efforts and create a coordinated, global narrative on healthy longevity that includes industry growth opportunities in an aging population and its role in shaping how we look at aging. At the core of the call to action is a paradigm shift from a deficits view toward an opportunity view of aging that centers on the tenets of health longevity:

  • Adding life to years
  • Earlier the better, never too late
  • Leave no one behind
  • Opportunities abound

The global narrative for health longevity will continue to be refined and expounded on in 2020, with members of the GFC on Longevity hosting events and publishing strategic plans that have long been planned. Now is a good time for organizations, from nongovernmental organizations to leading multinational corporations, who are not currently working on aging and healthy longevity to join the discussion. To stay updated on the GFC on Longevity and the global healthy longevity movement, or to learn more about opportunities for your organization to promote healthy longevity, follow the GFC’s World Economic Forum page.