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ICAA lists top
seniors’ fitness/health in 2005…
challenging year of revelations about rising health care costs, drug
recalls and the multi-million dollar cost of inactivity, advocates
of older adults predict these issues will motivate action in 2005.
are not willing to sit down and accept situations that aren't
working," commented Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council
on Active Aging (ICAA).
"They will take action to keep attention
focused on their key issues. The good news is that physical
activity and exercise can be part of the solution in each of these
areas. Physical activity is a low-cost medicine and one available to
just about everyone."
ICAA's top issues to watch in 2005 after an extensive poll of 210
experts in government, senior housing, social services and wellness
These issues are
likely to form the basis of activity in the older adult community:
1. The recall of
pharmaceutical drug Vioxx--a pain killer that has been prescribed
and used by seniors for years--and the questions raised about the
safety of Celebrex and Bextra were named by 43% of those polled.
Many of the ICAA members questioned how older adults with arthritis
will cope with pain management.
· The serious
questions about drug safety and the rising cost of medications will
lead to intense discussion about the procedures used to develop,
market and approve drugs.
· Older adults
will investigate ways to reduce discomfort and pain that do not rely
on pharmaceuticals. For example, flexibility exercises, general
physical activity, nutritional supplements, alternative medicine and
stress management techniques.
pharmaceutical companies will mount major public relations campaigns
and continue the direct-to-consumer marketing that encourages drug
prevalence of obesity- (and the associated economic and physical
costs) was submitted by 28% of respondents. The "epidemic" of type 2
diabetes was linked with obesity by 10%. ICAA members felt that
obesity was an important issue for older adults today, but could
become an even more serious issue as younger people age and develop
the chronic diseases associated with excess weight.
· Older adults
will receive more education from government, the medical system,
HMOs and private companies on how to change ingrained eating
· Children and
young adults will be targeted with messages about healthy weight to
prevent the consequences of overweight as they age.
coverage of weight loss treatments will encourage more health
insurance providers to offer reward and incentive programs for
weight loss and physical activity.
3. The growing
amount of research demonstrating that physical activity is a
necessary component of successful aging was cited by 21% of the
respondents. Of particular interest to these experts is the research
on the benefits of physical activity to maintain or improve mental
health and cognitive skills and the accessibility of facilities that
are able to meet the older adults' needs
· Research will
continue to demonstrate the benefits of physical activity, and more
locations will start to offer programs and facilities that are
geared to the older adult.
Low-functioning older adults will be provided with more activity and
exercise opportunities in assisted living or long-term care
facilities. The benefits of physical activity to improve depression
and Alzheimer's will drive this movement.
· The need for
older adults to have the fitness to function will bring new meaning
to the term "functional fitness." Yoga, Pilates, resistance
training, core conditioning and balance training will increase among
4. The impact on
older adults of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (cited by
34%) and the newly-released Medicare drug cards (17%) is of great
There is a lot
of uncertainty about what changes will mean to older adults, as
evidenced by the confusion about pharmacy discount cards for
· Federal and
state agencies will join with private companies to emphasize the
value of prevention to control health care costs.
reimportation discussions will escalate as older adults, as well as
states, increase purchasing outside the United States to control
· As new
provisions of Medicare revisions are implemented, older adults will
take a more active role in health care, both by seeking preventative
care and by becoming more politically aware of changes affecting
diets--particularly low-carbohydrate diets-are top issues for 14% of
respondents, joined by 11% who cited recent nutrition research on
supplements and "nutraceuticals" and diet composition. Many
respondents referred to the "low-carb diet craze" and suggested
older adults are confused about the role of carbohydrate in the
· Former dieters
realize that moderation is more sustainable that jumping on the next
research escalates as the search for non-drug therapies focuses
attention on the therapeutic possibilities of food and supplements.
· Options for
healthy eating, such as whole grain cereals and low-fat choices,
will become more prevalent.
"At the ICAA, we
believe that older adults age well through physical activity, social
interactions, work and recreation," explains Milner. "Older adults
will be more physically and politically active in 2005 because that
is how they will create the quality of life that they seek as they
International Council on Active Aging
The ICAA is the
world's largest association dedicated to changing the way we age by
uniting and working with professionals in the retirement, assisted
living, recreation, fitness, rehabilitation and wellness fields. It
connects a community of like-minded professionals who share the
goals of changing society's perceptions of aging and improving the
quality of life for aging Baby Boomers and older adults within the
six dimensions of wellness (emotional, vocational, physical,
spiritual, intellectual, social). The council supports these
professionals with education, information, resources and tools, so
they can achieve optimal success with this growing market.
The ICAA takes
an active role in helping to change the way society perceives aging.
The council is one of more than 50 of the most prominent health and
aging organizations working to implement the National Blueprint on
Aging. Contributors to the Blueprint's development include AARP, the
American College of Sports Medicine, the American Geriatrics
Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the
National Institute on Aging and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation