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Board Member in the News:  Steven Austad on Longevity Disparity in America in Forbes

Sep 27

Board Member in the News: Steven Austad on Longevity Disparity in America in Forbes View MoreBACK

On September 26, 2017, PBS Next Avenue column on featured insights from AFAR Scientific Director Steven N. Austad, PhD, on research that points towards how socioeconomic differences influence disparites in longevity and healthspan for Americans.

The article,  “Why America’s Inequality is a Threat to Living Longer,” captured the discussion shared at Stanford University 10th Anniversary Symposium: Celebrating a Decade of Resigning Long Life, where Dr. Austad presented.

Dr. Austad references research showing a gap between the haves and have-nots in health now threatens to undermine the progress science has made in lengthening human expectancy —68.2 years in 1950, on average, and nearly 79 years today, the article summarizes.

“There are really two cultures in America at this point, because there are groups in this country for whom life expectancy is actually declining,” Dr. Austad said.“Differential access to health care appears to play only a minor role. More important are probably lifestyle issues, like obesity, smoking, diet and lack of exercise."

The article also notes how “this countercurrent in life expectancy is especially striking because it comes as scientists see a path to dramatic additional gains in lifespan in the near future,” through the potential of interventions that target the processes of aging including the AFAR-managed TAME (Targeting Aging with Metformin) Trial.

For more, read the complete article on Next Avenue or Forbes.

Steven Austad, PhD, is a Distinguished Professor and Department Chair in Biology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, where he is also the Director of the NIA Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging.