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Active Aging: A Global Goal

Active Aging: A Global Goal Hindawi Publishing Corporation Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research Volume 2013, Article ID 298012, 4 pages http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/298012 Editorial 1 2 3 4 Rocío Fernández-Ballesteros, Jean Marie Robine, Alan Walker, and Alex Kalache Department of Psychobiology and Health, Autonomous University of Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, Paris, France Sheeffi ldUniversity, SouthYorkshire,UK International Longevity Center, Brazil Correspondence should be addressed to Roc´ıo Fernandez-B ´ allesteros; r.fballesteros@uam.es Received 9 December 2012; Accepted 9 December 2012 Copyright © 2013 Roc´ıo Fernandez-B ´ allesteros et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Throughout the world, populations are growing older; development of this new paradigm in contrast with the although in developed countries population Aging started common understanding that longevity necessarily increases earlyinthe XX century[1], less developed countries begun morbidity [2, 3], or produced a dynamic equilibrium ([4], for more recently. eTh refore, it can be stated that population areviewsee [5]). Latterly, authors noted how, since the 1950s, Aging is a global phenomenon. Population Aging must in selected countries, mortality aeft r the age of 80 years has be considered as a success of the human race since it is steadily fallen, they showed evidence that human senescence the product of a long adaptation process, that is, we are has been delayed by a decade strongly associated (from 1850) coincident with that the increase in life expectancy has with behavioral and healthy “best practices” [6, 7]. been determined by the development of lifelong education, Aging is not only a population phenomenon but also biomedical advancements, socioeconomic progress, and the an individual reality and experience. Biogerontologists stated democratic political extension of these social developments, that whilea25%ofthe ways individualsage areaccountedby which in some countries has doubled life expectancy in under genetics, it can be estimated that 75% are due to environmen- acentury. tal conditions, including those behavioral events who select Nevertheless, since individual Aging is associated with external conditions [8]. eTh refore, at individual level, Aging illness and functional loss, and disability-free life expectancy is a long process across the individual life span governed (DFLE) is signicfi antly lower than life expectancy at birth not only by age and genes but by the interactions between (LE), this global demographic transformation, sometimes socioenvironmental conditions with personal and behavioral called “the silent revolution,” is considered by many as a events [9, 10]. u Th s, at the individual level, Aging is not an threat in terms of public health and economic costs. But, at random phenomenon: the individual is an agent of his/her life expectancy with disability (LEwD) shows a very broad own Aging process, and the capacity for Aging well-healthy variability among the world: while in some countries an and active-comes, in a certain extent, from decisions taken individual born in 2002 can expect to have 10 years in by individuals themselves as well as his or her behavioral poor health, in others countries this expectation is reduced repertoires learnt across the life span. to less than 7 years. Dieff rences both in LE and in LEwD From an evidence-based point of view, it has been during are expressing the extent to which there are inequalities in the last decades of the XX century, with, the so-called “new environmental conditions which, to a large extent, account paradigm” in the field of research on Aging and in a broad for the variability in the ways populations are Aging. sense in the science of gerontology: a positive view (for a From a population perspective, the new paradigm of review see [11]).Pioneersinthisnew paradigm areauthors successful Aging, or Aging well, started in the eighties based from several gerontological disciplines, that is, from the efi lds on the compression of morbidity as a key concept for the of biomedicine and social sciences such as Fries and Crapo 2 Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research [3], Fries [12], Rowe and Kahn [13], or Baltes and Baltes [14]. prevalence show a very confused panorama. From the cross- This positive view of Aging adopted several verbal rubrics: sectional and longitudinal studies of healthy or successful “healthy” [15], “successful” [13, 14], “optimal” [16], “vital” Aging reviewed by Peel et al. [25], results yielded a broad [17], “productive” [18], “active” [19, 20], “positive” [21]or, range of successful agers: from 12.7% (“survival, high level of simply, “aging well” [12] or “good life” [22]. It is important to functioning”) to 49% (“old age having little or no disability emphasize that all these terms are taken by several authors prior to death) and Depp and Jeste’s [23] review yielded interchangeably when they review the field (e.g., [ 23–25]); an even broader range of prevalence ranging from 0.2 to others try to establish differences between healthy Aging, 97%. Fernande ´ z-Ballesteros and her group [31]through very active or successful Aging, and productive Aging [26, 27]. broad differences between “simple” (93% “absence of support The worldwide phenomenon of active Aging also brought needed” to 27.4% “no illness reported” and “combined” an acknowledgement by the United Nations (UN) of the outcomes (from 27,4% through 15.5%) and also between many challenges regarding Aging and national development, subjective (e.g., 80% “life satisfaction” through “MMSE” score issues concerning the sustainability of families and the ability higher than 28, 47%). The most accepted conclusion to these of states and communities to provide for Aging population, and other results is that a commonly accepted operational that is, active Aging is placed as key concept. In April 2002, den fi ition of active Aging is requested. representatives from 159 nations met in Madrid to convene Researchers distinguish between active Aging as an out- the Second UN World Assembly on Aging, two decades aer ft come of a lifelong process to its determinants or predictors. the rst fi assembly celebrated in Vienna in 1992. Although u Th s, at the population level WHO posited 6 main determi- during the last three decades cross-sectional, longitudinal, nants of active Aging: behavioral styles, personal biological and intervention studies on “Aging well” have been published, and psychological conditions, health and social services, active Aging has been defined for the rfi st time in 2002, by physical environment, and social and economic factors. the WHO, in the booklet “Active Aging. A policy framework” Research searching for determinants of active Aging distin- as “the process of optimizing opportunities for health, par- guish long-term determinants such as education, socioeco- ticipation and security, in order to enhance quality of life nomic status, profession, life styles, health status, personality andwellbeing as people age.”Theconcept active Agingwas factors, or cognitive aptitudes [31]. During the last decades adopted by theUnitedNationMadridIIInternational Plan of several experimental studies have been published with very Action on Aging. Moreover, active Aging inspired policies at promising evaluation studies and results from multidomain national, regional, and international actions among them the active Aging promotion programs (e.g., Active Aging South lastonehasbeenheadbytheEuropeanUnionwhichdeclared Australia), or programs promoting specific domains of active 2012 the European Year of Active Aging and Intergenerational Agingsuchasphysicalactivity(e.g.,CaliforniaActiveAging Solidarity.Insum,activeAging canbeconsidered as aglobal project), promotion of cognitive tfi ness (e.g., ACTIVE pro- goal and as a political concept [28]and it hasevenbeen gram), social participation, and others. Much more evalua- converted into a mantra in Aging societies. tion research must be conducted in order to tests active Aging From a scientific perspective, active Aging canbeconsid- good practices, training, projects, or programs. ered as an umbrella concept embracing a semantic space in In spite of the fact that there are a theoretical corpus which healthy, successful, or productive Aging are strongly of knowledge, empirical cross-sectional and longitudinal, related. All these terms are considered as multidimensional experimental research on active Aging, and social plans and and multilevel concepts and all of them are referring to a policies for promoting active Aging, much more research positive way of Aging or “Aging well,” and, as mentioned results,debates,anddiscussionsarerequiredinordertomake above, opening a new paradigm in gerontology, based on a step forward in this field. aTh t is the main goal of this the delay of senescence, the compression of morbidity and special issue on the 2012 European Year of Active Aging and mortality, the diversity of the ways of Aging, and the plasticity Intergenerational Solidarity. of humannatureinfront of enrichment circumstances[11, 27, Tenpapersare publishedinthisspecial issue, by authors 29]. from around the world, contributing to some of the prob- Although there is not an empirical definition of active lematic issues we outline in our editorial and some of them Aging commonly accepted, there is a certain consensus that enlighten with cross-cultural results on active Aging coming it embraces a set of domains: low probability of illness and from several countries and regions. disability, high physical tfi ness, high cognitive functioning, Regarding theoretical models of active Aging, C. Paul ´ positive mood and coping with stress, and being engaged with et al. try to validate the population WHO 6 determinants life (see [11, 13]). os Th e expert definitions are coincident with factors of active Aging in a sample of Portuguese community- what lay older adults consider; thus, more than two-thirds dwelling older adults in their contribution entitled “Active of lay people from several countries and several continents Aging: an empiricalapproachtothe WHOmodel.” Performing understand active Aging as a set of personal ingredients a factorial equation modeling, they do not confirm the such as “remaining in good health,” “feeling satisefi d with original model, but they arrived at a six-factor model where life,” “having family members and friends who are there,” individual factors are explaining a 54% of the variance: “adaptingtochanges relatedtoAging,” and“taking care of health, psychological factors, cognitive performance, social oneself” [30]. relationships, biobehavioral components and personality. It must be emphasized that since there is not a commonly Much more research testing the WHO model (both outcome accepted den fi ition of active Aging, studies looking for Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research 3 definition and posited determinants) from a multilevel as human capital, they focus on the psychological construct population perspective is required. of generativity, reporting results from Mexico and Baltic countries and their cooperative research under the Dialogue In “eTh theory and practice of active Aging ”J.F.Fries returns to the dynamic interaction of morbidity and mortality Forum Project Funding, yielding interesting improvements of generativity in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine by implement- trends, the subject of his pioneering research more than three ing and supporting local initiatives offering opportunities decades ago, and specifically to the erroneous assumption that morbidity would continue to develop at a specific age for intergenerational dialogue and complementing the results from A. Sidorenko and A. Zaidi and E. D. Arias-Merino et al. whilemortality couldbepostponed continuously.Analyses A theoretical article deals with a dynamic system model, of data from two controlled longitudinal studies of Aging, the Janus model of development, “On the dynamics of active supported by the wider literature, suggest that exercise aging”byJ.J.F.Schroots(Free University of Amsterdam, eTh improves health in terms of both mortality and cumulative Netherlands). eTh author provides very powerful theoretical lifetime disability. Most importantly, this paper demonstrates and methodological tools for understanding the nature of that the absence of risk factors, such as lack of exercise, development, based on the simplest possible set of underlying smoking, and overnormal body weight, is associated with principles: the unitary lifespan trajectory with two comple- a postponement of disability that significantly exceeds the mentary forces, growth and senescence, the peak capacity postponement of mortality (6.7–9 years) and, therefore, a and peak time refer, respectively, to the impact of growth rate compression of morbidity closer to the age of death. (peak capacity) and rate of senescence (peak time). Perhaps, Exploring the prevalence of active Aging based on Rowe most importantly, the validity of those principles is supported and Kahn’s model in a community dwelling sample of by simulating the empirical lifespan trajectories of functional Western Mexico assessed through the SABE Protocol (which capacity, intelligence, and mortality. is being administered through Latin American countries In their investigation of “Mobility and active Aging in by PAHO), E. D. Arias-Merino et al. are reporting their suburban environments: n fi dings from in-depth interviews and results in the paper “Prevalence of successful aging in the person-based GPS tracking,” E. Zeitler et al. use person-based elderly in Western Mexico.” An average of 12.6% older adults GPS tracking to explore how suburban environments have an were considered “aging well.” As in others studies, significant impact on older people’s mobility and their use of different differences were found by age (lower percentage in those forms of transport. eTh y found that suburban environments older), gender (women), education (lower education), and can create barriers to mobility which restrict the potential for marital status (single). activity in later life. Inaccessible public transport has the eeff ct In the paper “Social determinants of active aging: differ- of increasing car dependence among older people. ences in mortality and the loss of healthy life between dieff rent “The right to move: a multidisciplinary lifespan conceptual income levels among older Japanese in the AGES cohort study” framework” is a serious call by the Health across Life Span H. Hirai et al. explore the relationship between income and work group of the University of Michigan’s Society directed loss of healthy years in a large sample of persons aged 65 or by T. C. Antonucci et al. proposing a proactive model to older in Japan. Within the Aichi Gerontological Evaluation combat increasing inactivity associated with increasing obe- Study (AGES), functionally independent elderly people have sity. This paper compliments that of J. F. Fries and details the been followed during four years. eTh authors found that benetfi sofphysicalactivityfromcells to culturethrough vfi e people with lower incomes were not only more likely to die intermediary organizing levels, such as family, community, than those with higher incomes but also more likely to report and corporation. According to the authors, physical exercise loss of healthy life years. This paper underlines the significant is a powerful and low-cost solution to improve cognitive, roles of social factors and social inequalities even in a rather emotional, and physical health and well-being. This paper egalitarian country. demonstrates how and why all stakeholders have an interest Another important contribution to this special issue in participating or contributing to such a move. comes from the very informative description of the CIS The paper “ Active aging promotion: results from the Vital (former Soviet Union) countries made by A. Sidorenko and Aging program” by M. Caprara et al. (from several Spanish A. Zaidi from the European Center for Welfare Policy and and Latin American Universities) describes a program pro- Research (Vienna) in the paper “Active Aging in CIS countries: moting active Aging at the individual level. “Vital Aging” has semantics, challenges and responses.” This highlights a region been developed and tested in Spain as well as in several Latin not very well known from an Aging and active Aging point American countries. The program targets individual deter- of view. Coming from a period of n fi ancial instability and minants of active Aging, such as physical exercise, balanced immersed in a accelerated processes of Aging, it is highly nutrition, cognitively challenging activities, positive aeff ct, promising to learn that political actions, such as the 2012 and sense of mastery. The paper presents four evaluation European Year of Active Aging, are promoting health and studies corresponding to different formats of the proposed independent living of older adults. program, including e-formats. Limitations and futures steps From the Institute of Gerontology (University of Hei- arediscussed.Alargepartofthepaperisdevotedtoclarifythe delberg, Germany),A.Kruse andE.Schmitt contribute to terminologyusedwhenaging is considered from apositive this special issue with the paper “Generativity as a route to perspective. u Th s, the authors describe a semantic network active Aging.” After discussing the importance of active Aging of aging well, including active, healthy, successful, productive, from an individual as well as from a societal perspective competent, vital, or optimal aging. 4 Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research Our gratitude is to all authors for their outstanding [21] M. Gergen and K. Gergen, “Positive aging: new images for a new age,” Age International,vol.27, pp.3–23, 2001. contributions. [22] L. B. Bearon, “Successful aging: what does the “goodlife” look Roc´ıo Fernan ´ dez-Ballesteros like?” The Forum ,vol.3,pp. 1–7, 1996. Jean Marie Robine [23] C. A. Depp andD.V.Jeste,“Definitionsand predictors of Alan Walker successful aging: a comprehensive review of larger quantitative Alex Kalache studies,” American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry,vol.14, no.1, pp. 6–20, 2006. [24] S. J. Lupien and N. Wan, “Successful ageing: from cell to self,” References Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, vol. 359, no. 1449, pp. 1413–1426, 2004. [1] United Nation, Madrid-II International Plan of Action on Aging, United Nation,New York,NY, USA, 2002. [25] N. M. Peel, R. J. McClure, and H. P. Bartlett, “Behavioral determinants of healthy aging,” American Journal of Preventive [2] J. F. Fries, “Aging, natural death, and the compression of Medicine, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 298–304, 2005. morbidity,” New England Journal of Medicine,vol.303,no. 3, pp. 130–135, 1980. [26] FUTURAGE, ARoadMap forAgeingResearch, Sheffield Uni- versity, Sheffield, UK, 2011, http://futurage.group.shef.ac.uk/. [3] J.F.Fries andL.M.Crapo, Vitality and Aging,Freeman,New [27] R. Fernandez-B ´ allesteros, M. A. Molina, R. Schettini, and M. York, NY, USA, 1981. Santacreu, “The semantic network of aging well,” in Healthy [4] K. G. Manton, “Changing concepts of morbidity and mortality Longevity. Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics, J.-M. in the elderly population,” Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly, Robine, C. Jagger, and E. M. Crimmins, Eds., vol. 33, Springer, Health and Society,vol.60, no.2,pp. 183–244, 1982. New York, NY, USA, 2013. [5] J.-M. Robine, C. Jagger, C. D. Mathers, E. M. Crimmins, and [28] A. Walker, “Commentary: the emergence and application of R. M. Suzmman, Eds., Determining Health Expectancies,Wiley, active aging in Europe,” JournalofAging andSocialPolicy,vol. West Success, UK, 2002. 21,no. 1, pp.75–93,2009. [6] K.Christensen,G.Doblhammer, R. Rau, andJ.W.Vaupel, [29] C. Hertzog, A. F. Kramer,R.S.Wilson, andU.Lindenberger, “Ageing populations: the challenges ahead,” The Lancet ,vol.374, “Enrichment eeff cts on adult cognitive development: can the no. 9696, pp. 1196–1208, 2009. functional capacity of older adults be preserved and enhanced?” [7] J. W. Vaupel, “Biodemography of human ageing,” Nature,vol. Psychological Science in the Public Interest,vol.9,no. 1, pp.1–65, 464, no. 7288, pp. 536–542, 2010. [8] T. B. L. Kirkwood, “The biological science of human aging,” [30] R. Fernandez-B ´ allesteros, L. F. Garc´ıa,D.Abarcaetal.,“Lay in Age and Ageing,M.L.Johnson,Ed.,CambridgeUniversity concept of aging well: cross-cultural comparisons,” Journal of Press, Cambridge, Mass, USA, 2005. the American Geriatrics Society,vol.56,no.5,pp.950–952,2008. [9] A. Bandura, Social Foundation of Thoughts and Actions , Prentice [31] R. Fernandez-B ´ allesteros, M. D. Zamarron, ´ M. D. Lop ´ ez et al., Hall, Englewood Cliffs, Calif, USA, 1986. “Successful aging: criteria and predictors,” Psychology in Spain, [10] A. Bandura, Self-Ecffi acy. The Exercise of Control ,Freeman,New vol. 15, pp. 94–101, 2011. York, NY, USA, 1997. [11] R. Fernandez-B ´ allesteros, Active Aging. The Contribution of Psychology,Hogrefe &Huber,Gottingen, ¨ Germany, 2008. [12] J. F. Fries, Aging Well, Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass, USA, [13] J. W. Rowe and R. L. Kahn, “Human aging: usual and successful,” Science,vol.237,no. 4811, pp.143–149,1987. [14] P. B. Baltes and M. M. Baltes, “Psychological perspectives on successful aging: the model of selective optimization with compensation,” in Successful Aging: Perspectives from the Behavioural Sciences,P.B.Baltesand M. M. Baltes,Eds., pp.1– 35, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1990. [15] WHO, “Healthy ageing,” Tech. Rep., World Health Organiza- tion, Geneva, Switzerland, 1990. [16] E. Palmore, “Predictors of successful aging,” The Gerontologist , vol. 19,no. 5, pp.427–431,1979. [17] E. H. Erikson, J. M. Erikson, and H. Kivnick, Vital Involvement in Old Age: eTh Experience of Old Age in Our Time ,Norton, London, UK, 1986. [18] R. Butler and H. P. Gleason, Enhancing Vitality in Later Life, Springer,New York,NY, USA, 1985. [19] WHO, “Active Aging. A Policy Framework,” World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, 2002. [20] A. Walker, “A strategy for active ageing,” International Social Security Review,vol.55, no.1,pp. 121–140, 2002. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research Pubmed Central

Active Aging: A Global Goal

Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research , Volume 2013 – Feb 13, 2013

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Copyright © 2013 Rocío Fernández-Ballesteros et al.
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Hindawi Publishing Corporation Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research Volume 2013, Article ID 298012, 4 pages http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/298012 Editorial 1 2 3 4 Rocío Fernández-Ballesteros, Jean Marie Robine, Alan Walker, and Alex Kalache Department of Psychobiology and Health, Autonomous University of Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, Paris, France Sheeffi ldUniversity, SouthYorkshire,UK International Longevity Center, Brazil Correspondence should be addressed to Roc´ıo Fernandez-B ´ allesteros; r.fballesteros@uam.es Received 9 December 2012; Accepted 9 December 2012 Copyright © 2013 Roc´ıo Fernandez-B ´ allesteros et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Throughout the world, populations are growing older; development of this new paradigm in contrast with the although in developed countries population Aging started common understanding that longevity necessarily increases earlyinthe XX century[1], less developed countries begun morbidity [2, 3], or produced a dynamic equilibrium ([4], for more recently. eTh refore, it can be stated that population areviewsee [5]). Latterly, authors noted how, since the 1950s, Aging is a global phenomenon. Population Aging must in selected countries, mortality aeft r the age of 80 years has be considered as a success of the human race since it is steadily fallen, they showed evidence that human senescence the product of a long adaptation process, that is, we are has been delayed by a decade strongly associated (from 1850) coincident with that the increase in life expectancy has with behavioral and healthy “best practices” [6, 7]. been determined by the development of lifelong education, Aging is not only a population phenomenon but also biomedical advancements, socioeconomic progress, and the an individual reality and experience. Biogerontologists stated democratic political extension of these social developments, that whilea25%ofthe ways individualsage areaccountedby which in some countries has doubled life expectancy in under genetics, it can be estimated that 75% are due to environmen- acentury. tal conditions, including those behavioral events who select Nevertheless, since individual Aging is associated with external conditions [8]. eTh refore, at individual level, Aging illness and functional loss, and disability-free life expectancy is a long process across the individual life span governed (DFLE) is signicfi antly lower than life expectancy at birth not only by age and genes but by the interactions between (LE), this global demographic transformation, sometimes socioenvironmental conditions with personal and behavioral called “the silent revolution,” is considered by many as a events [9, 10]. u Th s, at the individual level, Aging is not an threat in terms of public health and economic costs. But, at random phenomenon: the individual is an agent of his/her life expectancy with disability (LEwD) shows a very broad own Aging process, and the capacity for Aging well-healthy variability among the world: while in some countries an and active-comes, in a certain extent, from decisions taken individual born in 2002 can expect to have 10 years in by individuals themselves as well as his or her behavioral poor health, in others countries this expectation is reduced repertoires learnt across the life span. to less than 7 years. Dieff rences both in LE and in LEwD From an evidence-based point of view, it has been during are expressing the extent to which there are inequalities in the last decades of the XX century, with, the so-called “new environmental conditions which, to a large extent, account paradigm” in the field of research on Aging and in a broad for the variability in the ways populations are Aging. sense in the science of gerontology: a positive view (for a From a population perspective, the new paradigm of review see [11]).Pioneersinthisnew paradigm areauthors successful Aging, or Aging well, started in the eighties based from several gerontological disciplines, that is, from the efi lds on the compression of morbidity as a key concept for the of biomedicine and social sciences such as Fries and Crapo 2 Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research [3], Fries [12], Rowe and Kahn [13], or Baltes and Baltes [14]. prevalence show a very confused panorama. From the cross- This positive view of Aging adopted several verbal rubrics: sectional and longitudinal studies of healthy or successful “healthy” [15], “successful” [13, 14], “optimal” [16], “vital” Aging reviewed by Peel et al. [25], results yielded a broad [17], “productive” [18], “active” [19, 20], “positive” [21]or, range of successful agers: from 12.7% (“survival, high level of simply, “aging well” [12] or “good life” [22]. It is important to functioning”) to 49% (“old age having little or no disability emphasize that all these terms are taken by several authors prior to death) and Depp and Jeste’s [23] review yielded interchangeably when they review the field (e.g., [ 23–25]); an even broader range of prevalence ranging from 0.2 to others try to establish differences between healthy Aging, 97%. Fernande ´ z-Ballesteros and her group [31]through very active or successful Aging, and productive Aging [26, 27]. broad differences between “simple” (93% “absence of support The worldwide phenomenon of active Aging also brought needed” to 27.4% “no illness reported” and “combined” an acknowledgement by the United Nations (UN) of the outcomes (from 27,4% through 15.5%) and also between many challenges regarding Aging and national development, subjective (e.g., 80% “life satisfaction” through “MMSE” score issues concerning the sustainability of families and the ability higher than 28, 47%). The most accepted conclusion to these of states and communities to provide for Aging population, and other results is that a commonly accepted operational that is, active Aging is placed as key concept. In April 2002, den fi ition of active Aging is requested. representatives from 159 nations met in Madrid to convene Researchers distinguish between active Aging as an out- the Second UN World Assembly on Aging, two decades aer ft come of a lifelong process to its determinants or predictors. the rst fi assembly celebrated in Vienna in 1992. Although u Th s, at the population level WHO posited 6 main determi- during the last three decades cross-sectional, longitudinal, nants of active Aging: behavioral styles, personal biological and intervention studies on “Aging well” have been published, and psychological conditions, health and social services, active Aging has been defined for the rfi st time in 2002, by physical environment, and social and economic factors. the WHO, in the booklet “Active Aging. A policy framework” Research searching for determinants of active Aging distin- as “the process of optimizing opportunities for health, par- guish long-term determinants such as education, socioeco- ticipation and security, in order to enhance quality of life nomic status, profession, life styles, health status, personality andwellbeing as people age.”Theconcept active Agingwas factors, or cognitive aptitudes [31]. During the last decades adopted by theUnitedNationMadridIIInternational Plan of several experimental studies have been published with very Action on Aging. Moreover, active Aging inspired policies at promising evaluation studies and results from multidomain national, regional, and international actions among them the active Aging promotion programs (e.g., Active Aging South lastonehasbeenheadbytheEuropeanUnionwhichdeclared Australia), or programs promoting specific domains of active 2012 the European Year of Active Aging and Intergenerational Agingsuchasphysicalactivity(e.g.,CaliforniaActiveAging Solidarity.Insum,activeAging canbeconsidered as aglobal project), promotion of cognitive tfi ness (e.g., ACTIVE pro- goal and as a political concept [28]and it hasevenbeen gram), social participation, and others. Much more evalua- converted into a mantra in Aging societies. tion research must be conducted in order to tests active Aging From a scientific perspective, active Aging canbeconsid- good practices, training, projects, or programs. ered as an umbrella concept embracing a semantic space in In spite of the fact that there are a theoretical corpus which healthy, successful, or productive Aging are strongly of knowledge, empirical cross-sectional and longitudinal, related. All these terms are considered as multidimensional experimental research on active Aging, and social plans and and multilevel concepts and all of them are referring to a policies for promoting active Aging, much more research positive way of Aging or “Aging well,” and, as mentioned results,debates,anddiscussionsarerequiredinordertomake above, opening a new paradigm in gerontology, based on a step forward in this field. aTh t is the main goal of this the delay of senescence, the compression of morbidity and special issue on the 2012 European Year of Active Aging and mortality, the diversity of the ways of Aging, and the plasticity Intergenerational Solidarity. of humannatureinfront of enrichment circumstances[11, 27, Tenpapersare publishedinthisspecial issue, by authors 29]. from around the world, contributing to some of the prob- Although there is not an empirical definition of active lematic issues we outline in our editorial and some of them Aging commonly accepted, there is a certain consensus that enlighten with cross-cultural results on active Aging coming it embraces a set of domains: low probability of illness and from several countries and regions. disability, high physical tfi ness, high cognitive functioning, Regarding theoretical models of active Aging, C. Paul ´ positive mood and coping with stress, and being engaged with et al. try to validate the population WHO 6 determinants life (see [11, 13]). os Th e expert definitions are coincident with factors of active Aging in a sample of Portuguese community- what lay older adults consider; thus, more than two-thirds dwelling older adults in their contribution entitled “Active of lay people from several countries and several continents Aging: an empiricalapproachtothe WHOmodel.” Performing understand active Aging as a set of personal ingredients a factorial equation modeling, they do not confirm the such as “remaining in good health,” “feeling satisefi d with original model, but they arrived at a six-factor model where life,” “having family members and friends who are there,” individual factors are explaining a 54% of the variance: “adaptingtochanges relatedtoAging,” and“taking care of health, psychological factors, cognitive performance, social oneself” [30]. relationships, biobehavioral components and personality. It must be emphasized that since there is not a commonly Much more research testing the WHO model (both outcome accepted den fi ition of active Aging, studies looking for Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research 3 definition and posited determinants) from a multilevel as human capital, they focus on the psychological construct population perspective is required. of generativity, reporting results from Mexico and Baltic countries and their cooperative research under the Dialogue In “eTh theory and practice of active Aging ”J.F.Fries returns to the dynamic interaction of morbidity and mortality Forum Project Funding, yielding interesting improvements of generativity in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine by implement- trends, the subject of his pioneering research more than three ing and supporting local initiatives offering opportunities decades ago, and specifically to the erroneous assumption that morbidity would continue to develop at a specific age for intergenerational dialogue and complementing the results from A. Sidorenko and A. Zaidi and E. D. Arias-Merino et al. whilemortality couldbepostponed continuously.Analyses A theoretical article deals with a dynamic system model, of data from two controlled longitudinal studies of Aging, the Janus model of development, “On the dynamics of active supported by the wider literature, suggest that exercise aging”byJ.J.F.Schroots(Free University of Amsterdam, eTh improves health in terms of both mortality and cumulative Netherlands). eTh author provides very powerful theoretical lifetime disability. Most importantly, this paper demonstrates and methodological tools for understanding the nature of that the absence of risk factors, such as lack of exercise, development, based on the simplest possible set of underlying smoking, and overnormal body weight, is associated with principles: the unitary lifespan trajectory with two comple- a postponement of disability that significantly exceeds the mentary forces, growth and senescence, the peak capacity postponement of mortality (6.7–9 years) and, therefore, a and peak time refer, respectively, to the impact of growth rate compression of morbidity closer to the age of death. (peak capacity) and rate of senescence (peak time). Perhaps, Exploring the prevalence of active Aging based on Rowe most importantly, the validity of those principles is supported and Kahn’s model in a community dwelling sample of by simulating the empirical lifespan trajectories of functional Western Mexico assessed through the SABE Protocol (which capacity, intelligence, and mortality. is being administered through Latin American countries In their investigation of “Mobility and active Aging in by PAHO), E. D. Arias-Merino et al. are reporting their suburban environments: n fi dings from in-depth interviews and results in the paper “Prevalence of successful aging in the person-based GPS tracking,” E. Zeitler et al. use person-based elderly in Western Mexico.” An average of 12.6% older adults GPS tracking to explore how suburban environments have an were considered “aging well.” As in others studies, significant impact on older people’s mobility and their use of different differences were found by age (lower percentage in those forms of transport. eTh y found that suburban environments older), gender (women), education (lower education), and can create barriers to mobility which restrict the potential for marital status (single). activity in later life. Inaccessible public transport has the eeff ct In the paper “Social determinants of active aging: differ- of increasing car dependence among older people. ences in mortality and the loss of healthy life between dieff rent “The right to move: a multidisciplinary lifespan conceptual income levels among older Japanese in the AGES cohort study” framework” is a serious call by the Health across Life Span H. Hirai et al. explore the relationship between income and work group of the University of Michigan’s Society directed loss of healthy years in a large sample of persons aged 65 or by T. C. Antonucci et al. proposing a proactive model to older in Japan. Within the Aichi Gerontological Evaluation combat increasing inactivity associated with increasing obe- Study (AGES), functionally independent elderly people have sity. This paper compliments that of J. F. Fries and details the been followed during four years. eTh authors found that benetfi sofphysicalactivityfromcells to culturethrough vfi e people with lower incomes were not only more likely to die intermediary organizing levels, such as family, community, than those with higher incomes but also more likely to report and corporation. According to the authors, physical exercise loss of healthy life years. This paper underlines the significant is a powerful and low-cost solution to improve cognitive, roles of social factors and social inequalities even in a rather emotional, and physical health and well-being. This paper egalitarian country. demonstrates how and why all stakeholders have an interest Another important contribution to this special issue in participating or contributing to such a move. comes from the very informative description of the CIS The paper “ Active aging promotion: results from the Vital (former Soviet Union) countries made by A. Sidorenko and Aging program” by M. Caprara et al. (from several Spanish A. Zaidi from the European Center for Welfare Policy and and Latin American Universities) describes a program pro- Research (Vienna) in the paper “Active Aging in CIS countries: moting active Aging at the individual level. “Vital Aging” has semantics, challenges and responses.” This highlights a region been developed and tested in Spain as well as in several Latin not very well known from an Aging and active Aging point American countries. The program targets individual deter- of view. Coming from a period of n fi ancial instability and minants of active Aging, such as physical exercise, balanced immersed in a accelerated processes of Aging, it is highly nutrition, cognitively challenging activities, positive aeff ct, promising to learn that political actions, such as the 2012 and sense of mastery. The paper presents four evaluation European Year of Active Aging, are promoting health and studies corresponding to different formats of the proposed independent living of older adults. program, including e-formats. Limitations and futures steps From the Institute of Gerontology (University of Hei- arediscussed.Alargepartofthepaperisdevotedtoclarifythe delberg, Germany),A.Kruse andE.Schmitt contribute to terminologyusedwhenaging is considered from apositive this special issue with the paper “Generativity as a route to perspective. u Th s, the authors describe a semantic network active Aging.” After discussing the importance of active Aging of aging well, including active, healthy, successful, productive, from an individual as well as from a societal perspective competent, vital, or optimal aging. 4 Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research Our gratitude is to all authors for their outstanding [21] M. Gergen and K. 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Published: Feb 13, 2013

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