Thursday, March 6, 2008


I realize this maybe only interesting to me and maybe Jocelyn too, but I noticed something missing on the UN Millennium Development Goals, seniors. For years world health has been concerned predominately with infant mortality and rightfully so, however, now with changes to infant mortality and the increased, though yes not readily, availability of retrovival medications and general development of developing nations, there is now an aging population. The issue is while Alzheimer's and related aging problems associated with the old-old population are not relevant, the issues that baby boomers are dealing with are, obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes as diets around the developing world do as they have in North America - turn towards processed and away from traditional diets for various reasons - decreased crop land in India and China due to dam projects and the Westernization of cultures both in relation to food and work. Labour based jobs are traded for more lucrative/stable US outsourced jobs. There are economic issues as well - is a social safety net necessary? In countries like South Africa there is no social safety net for those with lower SES, like there is in Canada and even then there can be the argument that our pension system is not effective, in that for those who work outside of the regular work force - everyone one from stay-at-home moms, to illegal workers or even family employees are left out of CPP.

Regardless when will we change our perspectives on older populations from a burden to a societal asset and treating them accordingly? We are a long way from that transition - sati still does occur in India (Deepa Mehta's Water is poignant on a related issue) and similar feelings permeate all cultures, even our own.

1 comment:

cheryl said...

it's funny though - because people are often thought of as 'victims' of poverty, and, arguably, even 'victims' of aids when girls are forced into prostitution and children are unwittingly born to hiv positive mothers.....but the north american baby boomers are largely responsible for their own demise. they're not _victims_ of obesity, diabetes, etc.... they've brought it upon themselves and it's not so much something for the world to solve or cure but for them to take their health seriously because what they've brought upon themselves was almost entirely preventable. funny, too though - because we "raise awareness for breast cancer" when we should really be "curing" breast cancer and "raising awareness" for self-inflicted obesity.

it's so rare to see anyone over 70 that's obese. it really is. i see hundreds of elderly people all day. the obese ones sadly don't make it five years past retirement. so what was those 40 years of working towards retirement really for?