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[Aging and the non-communicable diseases that accompany it are widely believed to play a vital role in healthcare spending. This chapter outlines how their historical relationship can be studied. It argues that since the nineteenth century, a key facet of modern aging has been that of change across generations: instead of all generations tracking a static universal age-profile of non-communicable diseases, different generations have traced their own unique profiles as they had aged. This happened partly because the generations had faced distinct economic, epidemiologic, and political milieus in their childhood years, whose influence had likely endured long afterwards. The long reach of the childhood years, in turn, suggests that cost containment in healthcare can be socially optimal if it boosts the life-course aspect of aging; and, can succeed over the long term, by improving the childhood-linked aspects of it.]
Published: Dec 12, 2014
Keywords: Aging; Non-communicable disease; Gompertz; Generations; Healthcare spending; Cost containment; Compression of deaths; Childhood development; Life-course effects
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