Healthy Aging Starts at Conception: Promoting Health Across the Lifespan

March 11, 2011
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

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Beginning in the womb and continuing throughout life, environmental factors are strong determinants of throughout the lifespan. Reproductive, children’s, midlife and elder health are inherently interconnected. In addition, various features of our biological, social and natural environments, alone and in combination, can affect health at any time in the life continuum. These stressors can also accumulate and influence genetic expression, and even the health of future generations. A century of change in our food, built, chemical, natural, psychosocial and socioeconomic environments is fueling dramatic increases in diseases and disabilities throughout the lifespan, such as diabetes, obesity, cancer, reproductive health and developmental disabilities. Combined with a near doubling of the over-65 population in the next few decades, this trajectory threatens to overwhelm our health care system, our social resources, and bring economic and social instability.

CHE hosted a call to discuss how we can advance a more positive path if we understand and address the interrelationships of health and the environment throughout life and explore common sense and also innovative approaches that may prevent chronic disease, foster health and sustain local and global economies. We also addressed the importance of interventions that address the structural, systemic origins of many diseases that can be designed to benefit ecosystems more generally, thereby linking human health to planetary health.

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The call was moderated by Elise Miller, MEd, director, CHE.