World health organization

10 facts on ageing and the life course

An older man holding a walking stick sits in a waiting room.
HelpAge International/J. Wresch

Health in older age is not random

Although some of the variations in older people’s health reflect their genetic inheritance, most is due to their physical and social environments, and the influence of these environments on their opportunities and health behaviour. Importantly, these factors start to influence ageing from childhood. This means that an older person from a disadvantaged background is both more likely to experience poor health and less likely to have access to the services and the care that they may need.

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