My take on Parliamentary Longevity Group launch event in House of Commons

This Monday I attended the launching event of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Longevity in the House of Commons. The acting group secretariat of this group is Longevity International.

I was glad to observe 2 things.

First, the positive way of how to frame the problem and program here: to talk about healthy longevity, more years spent healthily and fully functionally as opposed to highlight the functional compromise that is biological ageing and the societal burden that comes with it.

Second, there’s a target number emerging as an objective, to quote from the press release:

Government has set a goal that by 2035 we should all be able to live 5 extra healthy, independent years

All Party Parliamentary Group for Longevity – living well for longer – a strategy to accelerate health span by 2035 press release

So I see a rare political consensus emerging around this mission on part of mainstream political actors in the UK and the messaging is good.

Additionally, I have 3 points to raise to broaden this message and make it bolder too. But first, here’s my new business card for you to look at for the elections, probably the only such card from a candidate featuring an actual scientific figure showing the hallmark molecular and cellular aging processes. 🙂

Here are the 3 points:

  • Higher healthspan target: 5 years of healthspan gained in the next 15 years is way too moderate a plan. The target number should be more. Why? Because that’s almost the same number that has been achieved worldwide globally in the first 15 years of the 21st century. Consider this:

A global increase of five years in total life expectancy between 2000 and 2015 has been accompanied by only 4.6 years of healthy life expectancy.

Facing up to the global challenges of ageing by Partridge L, Deelen J, Slagboom PE, Nature, 2018
  • European context: While this was an UK specific launch event it’s worth highlighting that a general healthy longevity strategy the UK is part of should be framed within the context of Europe and the European Union. Healthy longevity as a challenge is global.
  • Bottom-up initiatives: Any wider longevity plan should prominently feature bottom-up initiatives starting at the individual citizen level. For instance in my independent MEP candidate program I talk about accessible education programmes for everybody, outside academia, reaching all ages to learn about biological aging and the advances towards healthy longevity.

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