Epidemiological transitions in a life-course perspective: challenges and opportunities for healthy ageing
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Department of Sociology and Social Work, Universitatea Alexandru Ioan Cuza, Romania
EC2U Alliance, Romania
Department of Public Health, Experimental and Forensic Medicine, Università degli Studi di Pavia, Italy
Department of Clinical, Surgical, Diagnostic and Paediatric Science, Università degli Studi di Pavia, Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A97
Population ageing is perceived as both a challenge and a social problem at worst. Since health trends show increasing disparities, understanding epidemiological transitions and exposures (i.e., social, environmental and biological factors) that summing up across life affect the chance of healthy ageing is a crucial aim for health professionals and researchers. Being able to detect early markers of physiological compensation and social or behavioural adaptations offers opportunities for timely interventions to optimise health promotion and prevention. The workshop will be structured as follows. First, an integrative life-course approach, its challenges and opportunities will build the ground of the presentation. Based on the activity of the EC2U Alliance Virtual Institute for Good Health and Well-being, a comparative approach of the targets associated with the UNDSG3 will stress the protective and risk factors for significant stages of life. Associated social and economic determinants will be envisaged as challenges and opportunities in national and European contexts. By mirroring strengths and weaknesses, the presentation will invite the audience to open the integrative lens in approaching epidemiological transitions. Secondly, we will present data exploring the impact of leaving parents’ homes and starting University for young adults. Using a cross-sectional online survey on university careers, behavioural risk factors, and psychological well-being using validated scales, we investigated students’ health status changes. From a 1500-sample, we appreciated the associations between mental health and health behaviours with the final aim of promoting positive adaptations during this phase, which may significantly impair young adults’ future life pathways. In the third contribution, we will focus on the role of reproductive milestones in women as modulators of future well-being and opportunities to implement primordial preventive strategies for healthy ageing. Reproductive history, including menstrual pattern, pregnancy complications, menopause timing and duration of reproductive lifespan, offers valuable information to individualise risk assessment in a gendered-oriented approach. In this view, we will report data exploring the impact of reproductive history on cardio-metabolic health in a sample of midlife women transitioning through menopause, highlighting the importance of the reproductive fil rouge in modulating health and diseases in a life-course perspective. The fourth panellist will open up with the health impact of the transition to retirement, which results in a complex set of adjustments, posing both threats and opportunities for physical and mental health. Health behaviours and mental health changes appeared to be among the most relevant mediators affecting life years after the withdrawal from work. Exploring different databases (e.g., SHARE, INAPP Plus), we collected original data to evaluate labour and retirement-associated determinants’ role in the well-being of European and global elder populations. The workshop, bringing together experts with topic knowledge on ageing, will provide answers on how to design a culture for well-being across the whole lifespan and how to conduct assessments and measure success. In the end, we will engage in a fruitful discussion with the audience on the data presented and practical public health implications, exploring how they can inform critical policy debates addressing evidence-based prevention strategies for healthy ageing at the global level.