The Region of the Americas in the next two decades will age faster than ever, and it is expected that in 2030 the Region will have a greater number of older people than children under 15, a situation that will occur 25 years before the world average. Although countries experience this demographic shift at different speeds and times, the impacts of these changes for individuals’ health as well as for health systems’ organization, workforce, and budget will be very important regionwide. To be prepared for the demographic transition, it is essential to better understand aging and older adults' needs and work on policies and practices towards healthy aging in a context of high diversity and inequalities.
Currently, the healthy aging definition goes beyond the absence of diseases. It is very much related to the development of capacities and the ability individuals have, to do what they value for as long as possible. To foster healthy aging, the United Nations have declared the period from 2021 to 2030 as the Decade of Healthy Aging, a global movement aiming to connect different stakeholders towards the common goal of providing more quality of life and opportunities in the second half of the life course.
The importance of research in aging and health and the call to increase data collection on older adults and the determinants of healthy aging has been claimed by the Decade of Healthy Aging. This special edition of the Pan American Journal of Public Health aims to show important research efforts in the Region of the Americas concerning healthy aging and, more importantly, open the space for more discussions and encourage investigation on this matter.
This special edition is also being launched during the 100th anniversary of the Pan American Journal of Public Health. Like the Journal, which has been for so long exerting its role of delivering current and evidence-based information on public health in the Region of the Americas, this is what the Decade of Healthy Aging aims for present and future older generations: longer and meaningful lives.
The Journal appreciates the contribution of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) and its programs, the Global Aging Research Network (GARN), and the Global Social Issues on Aging (GSIA) for its financial support to this special issue.