Active aging and public health: evidence, implications, and opportunities

Shilpa Dogra, David Dunstan, Takemi Sugyiama, Afroditi Stathi, Paul Gardiner, Neville Owen

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By 2050, 20% of the world's population will be over the age of 65 years, with projections that 80% of older adults will be living in low- to middle-income countries. Physical inactivity and sedentary time are particularly high in older adults, presenting unique public health challenges. In this article, we first review evidence that points to multiple beneficial outcomes of active aging, including better physical function, cognitive function, mental health, social health, and sleep and suggest the need to shift the research focus from chronic disease outcomes to more relevant outcomes that affect independence and quality of life. Second, we review the critical role of age-friendly environments in facilitating active aging equitably across different countries and cultures. Finally, we consider emerging opportunities related to social engagement and technology-enabled mobility that can facilitate active aging. In all these contexts, it is a priority to understand and address diversity within the global aging population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-459
Number of pages21
JournalAnnual Review of Public Health
Issue number1
Early online date15 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2022


  • General Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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