[Paleopsych] 40 could be the new 30 as scientists redefine age

Steve Hovland shovland at mindspring.com
Thu Jun 9 13:27:51 UTC 2005

By Patricia Reaney
Wed Jun 8, 1:07 PM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - Is 40 really the new 30?


Everyone is getting older but in many ways people today act younger than 
their parents did at the same age.

Scientists have defined a new age concept and believe it could explain why 
populations are aging, but at the same time seem to be getting younger.

Instead of measuring aging by how long people have lived so far, the 
scientists have factored in how many more years people can still look 
forward to.

"Using that measure, the average person can get younger in the sense that 
he or she can have even more years to live as time goes on," said Warren 
Sanderson, of the University of New York in Stony Brook.

He and Sergei Scherbov, of the Vienna Institute of Demography at the 
Austrian Academy of Sciences, have used their method to estimate how the 
proportion of elderly people in Germany, Japan and the United States will 
change in the future.

The average German was 39.9 years old in 2000 and could plan to live for 
another 39.2 years, according to research reported in the science journal 
Nature on Wednesday.

However, by 2050 the average German would be 51.9 years old and could 
expect another 37.1 years of life. So middle age in 2050 would come around 
52 instead of 40 as in 2000.

"As people have more and more years to live they have to save more and plan 
more and they effectively are behaving as if they were younger," said 

Five years ago, the average American was 35.3 years old and could plan for 
43.5 more years of life. By 2050, the researchers estimate it would 
increase to 41.7 years and 45.8 future years.

"A lot of our skills, our education, our savings and the way we deal with 
our health care depend a great deal on how many years we have to live," 
said Sanderson.

"This dimension of how many years we have to live has been completely 
ignored in the discussion of aging so far."

More information about the paleopsych mailing list