Anti-aging posterchild David Sinclair and a duo of economists team up to explain how extending our lifespans and disease-free, healthy years positively impacts the economy.
As our life expectancy continues to increase, the proportion of life lived in good health has stayed mostly constant. This means that although we’re living longer, we’re also living more years in poor health. Therefore, scientists have emphasized researching healthy aging and maximizing years lived without disease compared to traditional research on individual diseases. What’s been unclear is what broad economic benefits may come from focusing research on healthy aging.
Harvard-based aging expert David Sinclair teamed up with economists Andrew J. Scott from London Business School and Martin Ellison from the University of Oxford to evaluate the economic benefits of treating aging in Nature Aging. The group showed that expanding the number of healthy years (healthspan) and diminishing later years lived with disease provides more value than simply extending life expectancy — it has major economic impacts. Sinclair, Scott, and Ellison also project that targeting aging with pharmaceuticals may provide larger economic gains than treating individual diseases. This economic analysis enormously boosts the rationale for allocating resources toward healthy aging research.
Extending Healthspan Stimulates Consumer Spending
Sinclair, Scott, and Ellison generated an economic model based on how individuals make consumer choices, the number of hours they work, and the time and money they spend on leisure. Using the model, this expert team compared the economic benefits of increasing healthspan against simply extending lifespan. They found that increasing lifespan but not necessarily maximizing it while substantially improving healthspan results in the most significant economic societal gains. The team of experts projected that extending healthspan during older ages gives older individuals a better chance to make consumer choices that drive the economy.