News archive 2007
International ageing expert gives warning30 Jan 2007, PR 11/07
Dr Alex Kalache, Head of the World Health Organisation's Ageing and the Lifecourse Programme, gave the David Hobman Annual Lecture at King's in which he warned of the social and economic issues associated with a fast-growing ageing population, particularly in the poorer countries of the world.
Dr Kalache, who has been very influential in promoting ageing on the international agenda, gave a lecture entitled The Challenge of Population Ageing is Global - but Greater in the South yesterday evening (Monday 29 January 2007) in the Great Hall, Strand Campus.
Dr Kalache outlined the current situation, explaining that there had been a revolution in world's population with no historical precedent. In spite of the developed world's preoccupation with an ageing population, this pales in comparison to the effects on less developed countries. Soon two billion of the world's population will be over 60 and 1.7 billion of these people will be in poor countries. This change is happening in the span of less than one generation.
For example, he described, it took France 115 years to double its number of older people. Brazil, on the other hand, has experienced the same change in just 19 years.
He pointed out that: ‘The developed world became rich before it became old, but the developing countries are becoming old before they have ever become rich.'
21st Century problem
In response to the lecture, Simon Biggs, Director of King's Institute of Gerontology and Professor of Gerontology said: ‘We are only just waking up to the scale of these changes. They will affect every aspect of adult life, from relations between the generations to those between almost every country on the globe. How we respond to adult ageing is becoming a defining problem for the 21st century.'
Dr Kalache's main research interests are in healthy ageing and health promotion. He is currently working on, amongst other things, the ‘Age Friendly Cities' project involving more than 20 cities worldwide. Anthea Tinker, Professor of Social Gerontology, and Professor Biggs, are working with Help the Aged and the Greater London Authority on this WHO project, covering London.
Another link with the Institute of Gerontology and WHO is on the issue of Elder Abuse as a world problem. A WHO pamphlet ‘Missing Voices' was produced in 2002 and a number of King's gerontology staff had input to it through the pressure group ‘Action on Elder Abuse'. The Institute is currently undertaking the first national prevalence study on Elder Abuse (in partnership with the National Centre for Social Research), sponsored by Comic Relief and the Department of Health. This is due to be made public in the run up to Comic Relief Day on 16 March.
Notes to editors
Dr Alex Kalache
Dr Kalache grew up in Brazil and trained in London. He founded the Epidemology of Ageing Unit at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Institute of Gerontology
The Institute of Gerontology at King's College London is a leading centre of international scholarship on ageing. It adopts a multidisciplinary to the subject, encompassing social, psychological and biological gerontology.
The David Hobman Annual Lecture follows Age Concern England's (ACE) annual conference and is named in honour of a past director of that organisation.
King's College London
King's College London is the fourth oldest university in England with more than 13,700 undergraduates and nearly 5,600 graduate students in nine schools of study based at five London campuses. It is a member of the Russell Group: a coalition of the UK's major research-based universities. The College has had 24 of its subject-areas awarded the highest rating of 5* and 5 for research quality, demonstrating excellence at an international level, and it has recently received an excellent result in its audit by the Quality Assurance Agency.
King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, international relations, medicine, nursing and the sciences, and has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe and is home to four Medical Research Council Centres – more than any other university.
King's is in the top group of UK universities for research earnings, with income from grants and contracts of more than £100 million, and has an annual turnover of more than £363 million.
Public Relations Department
Tel: 020 7848 3202
Review of the King's year
Knife crime: a review
Strand Building closure update
UK researchers tackle chronic pain
Strand Building closure
World prison population still growing
Defence Minister speaks at King's
New drugs potential of Chinese herbs
Boris Johnson speaks at King's
Cannabis reclassification: study findings
This information is provided by the Public Relations Department
Tel: 020-7848 3202 Fax: 020-7848 3739 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org