244775 An Ecological Approach to Healthy Aging Across the Lifespan

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 8:48 AM

Patrice Sutton, MPH , Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, University of California San Francisco, Oakland, CA
Elise G. Miller, MEd , Collaborative on Health and the Environment, Freeland, WA
Ted Schettler, MD, MPH , Science and Environmental Health Network, Bolinas, CA
Harry Moody, PhD , Director, Office of Academic Affairs, AARP, Washington, DC
How and where we live, eat, work, play, and socialize profoundly influence our physical and mental health. Beginning in the womb and continuing throughout life, environmental factors are strong determinants of health decades later. Reproductive, children's, midlife and elder health are inherently interconnected. In addition, both positive and negative features of our biological, social and natural environments, alone and in combination, can affect health at any time in the life continuum. These stressors can also accumulate and influence genetic expression, and even the health of future generations. A century of change in our food, built, chemical, natural, psychosocial, and socioeconomic environments is fueling dramatic increases in diseases and disabilities throughout the lifespan, such as diabetes, obesity, cancer, reproductive health and developmental disabilities. Combined with a near doubling of the over-65 population in the new few decades, this trajectory threatens to overwhelm our health care system, our social resources, and bring economic and social instability. We can advance a more positive path if we understand and address the interrelationships of health and the environment throughout life, and explore common sense and also innovative approaches that may prevent chronic disease, foster health, and sustain local and global economies. Furthermore, interventions that address the structural, systemic origins of many diseases can be designed to benefit ecosystems more generally, thereby linking human health to planetary health.

Learning Areas:
Basic medical science applied in public health
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the connections between environmental factors and chronic diseases throughout the lifespan, and the magnitude of the growing chronic disease burden and health care costs. 2. Explain the many environments that affect health throughout life, including the natural, built, food, chemical, psychosocial and socioeconomic environments, as well as how these interact as cumulative stressors. 3. Describe health promoting policies and programs for various life stages.

Keywords: Environmental Health, Public Health Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a Research Scientist at the University of California, San Francisco Program on Reproductive Health and Environment where I spearhead the From Advancing Science to Ensuring Prevention Alliance. I have over 20 years of experience in occupational and environmental health research, industrial hygiene, public health practice, policy development and community-based advocacy. As a contractor to California's state health department from 1987 to 2006, I was responsible for conducting all aspects of research investigations spanning a disparate range of issues, including lead poisoning, tuberculosis, asthma, and pesticide-illness. I have extensive experience collaborating with directly-impacted workplace and community-based populations, labor, and governmental and non-governmental organizations in the development of research strategies and policy recommendations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.