Healthy Ageing - Beneficial investment for all generations
Investing in knowledge about Healthy and Active Ageing provides significant social and economic benefits. Thus, using the most optimistic scenario, the decline in health as a consequence of ageing can be reduced by a third, and health care spending in 2050 can be restricted to less than 18% of the gross domestic product. Moreover, investing contributes to additional employment which can increase to at least 150,000 people by 2050.
These are the results of a study conducted by economist Marc Pomp, as an assignment for the University Medical Center Groningen. The report entitled "Healthy and active ageing: The social benefits of Healthy Ageing research" was presented today to the VNO-NCW chairman Bernard Wientjes in Nieuwspoort.
To realize these social benefits, the Netherlands must invest in prevention, prevention and again, prevention. And not only in the form of preventing illness outright, but also through earlier detection and treatment of diseases and through reducing the impact of illnesses.
Pomp's calculations demonstrate that, if the existing lines of Healthy Ageing research lead to prevention programs and treatments, the decline in health that is associated with ageing can be reduced by a third. Investing in Healthy Ageing also contributes to additional employment opportunities. This last effect, according to the figures, can increase to more than 150,000 people additionally employed by 2050. Investing in knowledge about Healthy Ageing can thereby have a significant effect on the labor market and thus strengthen the Dutch economy. In addition, health care spending in 2050 would not increase to 24% of the gross domestic product, as predicted by the more conservative calculations of the Centraal Plan Bureau (CPB), but instead be limited to less than 18%.
Pomp compared the social benefits of implementing knowledge about Healthy Ageing for the different forms of prevention - prevention of illness, early detection and treatment of disease, en reducing the impact of illness - with a baseline scenario in which nothing is invested in the development of this knowledge. For this comparison, he used a model that combined various authoritative sources of information for the Dutch population over 50 years old in the areas of demographics, quality of life, labor market, health care spending, and trends in the macro-economy and the cost of health care. The model is designed to take into account the eventual extra health care costs of the increase in life-expectancy. It is the first time that such a broad research study has been done concerning the social benefits of investing in prevention and that benefits such as extra employment, less absenteeism and economic growth, were taken into account.
The UMCG confirmed that Pomp started his research on Healthy Ageing in 2006.
Frans Jaspers, a UMCG Board of Directors member, said: "The social benefits of investing in Healthy Ageing are enormous and justify ambitious investments. The current top sectors policy is insufficiently tuned to the European Commission agenda, in which Healthy Ageing, in addition to energy and climate change, are the priorities. Therefore we are striving for a national program in which all Healthy Ageing efforts from universities, university medical centers and businesses meet and connect with the policy from the EU. The study from Marc Pomp supports the necessity of investing in Healthy Ageing and we hope that it inspires others to work together with us on the greatest challenge of the 21st century: healthy and active ageing.
Source: University Medical Hospital Groningen