We are all getting younger with new lifespan calculations

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We are all getting younger with new lifespan calculations

I had heard that 40 is the new 30, according to this article that is right. You are probably younger than your age suggests, according to a study published recently.

Researchers have redefined what ageing means so it is not how long you have been alive that counts but, rather, how many years you have got left.

In doing so, they are reflecting the common feeling that many nearing retirement are as vigorous as middle-aged people were a century ago.

For example, the age of a woman who was 40 in 1900 is the same as the redefined or, as the researchers put it, the standardised average age of a 55-year-old today.

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Using that measure, the average person can get younger in the sense that he or she can have even more years to live as time goes on,
said Warren Sanderson, of the University of New York in Stony Brook.

But before we start celebrating the chance to knock 10 or more years off our ages there may be a price to be paid.

The researchers claim that linking the retirement age to the new standardised average age could defuse the pensions time bomb - not least by raising retirement ages.

Dr Sanderson and Dr Sergei Scherbov, of the Vienna Institute of Demography, describe today in the journal Nature how they have redefined age.

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Normally, we discuss ageing in a country only in terms of the number of years the average person has lived.

This approach is incomplete and can be highly misleading. It is crucial that we expand our approach to ageing by also considering the number of years the average person has left to live. Without this it would be impossible to devise policies appropriate for an ageing society.

said the team, which also works for the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria.

To do this, Dr Sanderson said a distinction is made between the normal view of age and standardised age which is a person's age standardised for his expected remaining years of life."

The system uses 2000-01 as its reference year so, if a 30-year-old in 2000 has 50 years left to live and a 40-year-old in 2050 also has another 50 years, then the 40-year-old of 2050 will have a standardised age of 30. People of the same standardised age share the same remaining life expectancy, the authors say.

This method suggests that populations can effectively become "younger" as remaining life expectancies rise.

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Older people in the future will not behave like today's older people. In many ways, they will behave as though they were much younger.
the team said.

Pension systems that do not include an increase in the age of claiming a full pension or a decrease in benefits with rising life expectancies unfairly penalise tax-paying younger generations, they concluded.

By netchicken: posted on 20-6-2005

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