Global Coalition on Aging  

Press Release 07/22/15

Leaders Pursue New Approaches to Active Ageing Across the Life Course Through Skin Health, Age-Friendly Cities and Innovation

2015 Shenyang Active Ageing Summit Convenes Cross-Sector Stakeholders to Advance Partnerships to Enable Ageing Populations in China and Across the Globe

SHENYANG, P.R. CHINA (22 July 2015) – Today cross-sector industry leaders, government officials and international experts in ageing, dermatology, public policy and business have come together to affirm the need for further action and awareness around the social and economic importance of healthy and active ageing across the life course as well as the essential role that healthy skin plays in that process.

The 2015 Shenyang Active Ageing Summit brings together leaders for the purpose of collaboration through multi-faceted discussions centered on skin health as a path to active ageing and age-friendly best practices across China and globally.  It follows the momentum and actionable outcomes identified at the Manchester Summit on Healthy Skin and Active Ageing in England in June of 2014.  The Manchester Summit resulted in the creation of the “Life Course of Healthy Skin Global Partnership,” a commitment to increasing collaboration, awareness, research and innovation in skin health as a central strategy on the global active ageing agenda.

“As increased longevity extends lives into our 70s, 80s, 90s and even 100s, conditions that are associated with old age are becoming more prevalent,” said Michael W. Hodin, CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging.  “However, ageing need not be seen as a burden if we take the appropriate actions.  Twenty-first century demographic shifts demand a reimagined approach to the process of ageing – one that is active and includes paying close attention to the essential role of healthy skin throughout the life course.  This shift in approach also presents an opportunity for reduced healthcare costs and a path to economic growth.”

With China’s 65-plus population skyrocketing from 12 percent in 2010 to over one-third of its total population by 2050 and increasing demand for healthcare in China driven by this demographic shift, rapid urbanization and industrial development, China finds itself at the center of the global dialogue. Further, as environment plays an essential role in how well one is able to age, cities with infrastructure and policies that drive age-friendly initiatives are growing in demand as a means for active ageing and ultimately economic sustainability.

The two-day Shenyang Summit is hosted by the Global Coalition on Aging, China Medical University and Shenyang City Government.  Summit partners include Renmin University of China, Neusoft and Nestlé Skin Health.

“We are delighted to welcome leaders from around the world to Shenyang, China to discuss such an important and consequential topic for our country and its future,” said Professor Xing-Hua Gao, Deputy President of the No.1 Hospital of China Medical University.  “China’s demographic landscape presents the opportunity for forward-thinking policy and international collaboration that will result in China serving as a model for healthy and active ageing.”

Shenyang, the capital city of Liaoning Province, is a city steeped in history of over 2,000 years tracing back to Warring States Period and is known as an industrial center and transportation hub for China’s northeast.  Shenyang has a population of about 10 million with 6 million in urban areas and currently 21 percent of its population over 60 years old.

“Leaders across academia and government in China are advancing support for our ageing populations through age-friendly cities, taking into consideration policy and infrastructure modifications that promote the overall wellness of society,” said Professor Peng Du, Director of the Institute of Gerontology, Renmin University of China.  “A cross-sector approach to active ageing – which touches all aspects of our lives from the cities we live in to the places we work and how we care for ourselves and participate in our communities as we age – will be essential for our success.”

The summit will place emphasis on skin health as a critical component of wellness and prevention, which serves as a model for how healthy and active ageing can be achieved.  It and other conditions associated with ageing should be considered in a broader approach to healthy ageing.

“Our skin is our largest organ, which protects us from external harms and defends against disease and infection,” said Peter Nicholson, Vice President of Business Development & Strategy for Nestlé Skin Health.  “Since we are living longer, our skin must protect us for longer, with impacts on our physical health, mental health and ability to engage socially.  A life course of healthy skin is as important for today’s young to age well as it is for a more active and healthier ageing for today’s older demographic.”

One in two people over the age of 65 suffers from intense dryness of the skin, which can lead to infection and wounds.  Further, skin conditions and diseases are often related to non-communicable diseases like cancers and diabetes, which increase in prevalence with age.  In addition to the physical effects and medical care and costs associated with conditions of fragile skin, there are emotional and social implications as well, which can impact one’s ability to maintain independence and negatively impact quality of life.

As a result of the high-level commitment to the “Life Course of Healthy Skin Partnership,” Nestlé Skin Health announced its plan to open a global network of SHIELD (Skin Health Investigation, Education and Longevity Development) centers to meet skin health challenges that result from 21st century longevity.  The network is built to foster breakthroughs and collaboration in skin health through medical investigation, education and applications related to the convergence of technologies and bio-informatics.  The first SHIELD center will be in New York City, and the second will open in Shanghai in the first quarter of 2016 with 10 other locations planned in the future.  The Shanghai SHIELD center was announced in partnership with the Global Coalition on Aging on 21 July with a ceremony hosted by Nestlé Skin Health CEO Humberto Antunes.

Collaborative partnerships achieved during the Shenyang Summit will continue to further the overarching goal of ageing as an opportunity for economic growth and stability.  Insights and best practices shared throughout the event will be leveraged on a global scale and utilized to mobilize international leaders to act on reinventing how we age.

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