Tufts Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging to Spotlight Healthy Aging in Urban Populations at Conference

Agenda addresses healthcare, diet, economic and policy challenges of global rise in older adults living in cities

BOSTON – As life expectancy climbs in the U.S. and worldwide, so does the number of people aged 65 and over depending on the conveniences of city-living. Fulfilling the unique health and economic needs of urban-dwelling older adults in developing and non-developing countries is the focus of the conference “World Health Day 2012: Population Aging and Urbanization-A Meeting of the Minds” at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University April 11-12.

The conference echoes the healthy aging theme of this week’s World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Health Day event. Leaders from academia, government and the private sector will share strategies for advancing healthcare access and delivery, meeting housing demands and increasing accessibility of nutritious food, mental health services and paid work opportunities. The United Nations predicts that 80% of  the 65 and over population living in the world’s developed countries will reside in urban areas by 2015.

Jacob Kumaresan, M.D., executive director of the WHO office at the United Nations in New York, will open the conference, providing perspective on the public health agenda for this growing age group. In addition, an expert panel will address the main themes of the conference: healthcare, nutrition, urban planning and design, and public policy.

Speakers and panelists include:

·         Ann L. Hartstein, secretary, Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs

·         Mohsen Mostafavi, dean, Harvard Graduate School of Design

·         Simin Nikbin Meydani, director, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University

·         Joseph Coughlin, director, Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab

·         Joseph Curtatone, mayor, Somerville, Mass.

·         Maureen E. Power, executive director, Intergenerational Urban Institute - Worcester State University

 “Given the predicted growth of the world’s aging population it is essential to continue to build a support system that optimizes quality of life for older adults,” says conference organizer Meydani, who will address diets, nutrition and nutrient status in developed countries. “Our speakers and panelists will provide an overview of tools for healthy aging worldwide. Using that insight, we will close our program with a declaration that will likely call for a more robust aging and urbanization research agenda and further attention from policymakers.”

 For more information and the conference agenda go to: http://whd.hnrc.tufts.edu/agenda.html

For three decades, the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University has studied the relationship between good nutrition and good health in aging populations. Tufts research scientists work with federal agencies to establish the USDA Dietary Guidelines, the Dietary Reference Intakes, and other significant public policies.



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