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The Influence of Changing Demographic Patterns on Our Health Promotion Priorities

  • Jeffrey P. Koplan
    Correspondence
    Address reprint requests to Dr. Koplan, Director, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, NE (K40), Atlanta, GA 30341-3724.
    Affiliations
    From the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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  • John R. Livengood
    Affiliations
    From the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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      As we approach the twenty-first century, we face many difficult challenges in planning public health programs to promote health and prevent disease. We focus here on the changing age distribution of the American population and the resulting need to develop and enact effective health promotion efforts for older Americans. Older adults suffer from an increased burden of many chronic diseases, but contrary to past assumptions, they benefit substantially from health promotion and disease prevention efforts. Although numerous health promotion activities can be targeted to aging populations, we pay particular attention to the beneficial role of physical activity promotion, tobacco use cessation, and good nutrition for older adults. In this article, we describe some of the implications of this demographic change in terms of the health care services and needs of older adults, and we suggest priorities for future public health promotion and disease prevention programs.
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