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What You Need to Know About the New Age Categories According to WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently updated its age categories to reflect the changing demographics and health status of the global population. The new age categories are different from the ones used by the Ministry of Health of Indonesia (Depkes) and may have implications for health policies and services. In this article, we will explain the differences between the old and new age categories, their rationale, and their impact on health and well-being.
The Old Age Categories According to Depkes
According to Depkes, the age categories used in Indonesia until 2009 were as follows [^1^]:
Infancy: 0-5 years
Childhood: 5-11 years
Early adolescence: 12-16 years
Late adolescence: 17-25 years
Early adulthood: 26-35 years
Late adulthood: 36-45 years
Early old age: 46-55 years
Late old age: 56-65 years
Elderly: 65 years and above
The elderly category was further divided into subcategories according to WHO [^2^]:
Middle age: 45-59 years
Old age: 60-74 years
Older old age: 75-90 years
Very old age: 90 years and above
The New Age Categories According to WHO
In 2019, WHO revised its age categories to simplify and harmonize them with international standards. The new age categories are as follows [^3^]:
Children: under 18 years
Youth: 18-65 years
Middle-aged: 66-79 years
Elderly: 80-99 years
Long-lived elderly: 100 years and above
The Rationale Behind the New Age Categories
The new age categories are based on the concept of functional age, which refers to the physical, mental, and social abilities of a person rather than their chronological age. Functional age can vary widely among individuals of the same chronological age, depending on their lifestyle, genetics, environment, and health conditions. Therefore, functional age is a better indicator of health needs and risks than chronological age.
The new age categories also reflect the increasing life expectancy and healthy aging of the global population. According to WHO, life expectancy at birth increased by 5.5 years between 2000 and 2016, reaching 72.0 years in 2016. The proportion of people aged 60 years or over is expected to rise from 12% in 2015 to 22% in 2050. Moreover, many older people remain active and productive well into their later years, contributing to society and enjoying a good quality of life.
The Impact of the New Age Categories on Health and Well-being
The new age categories have implications for health policies and services, as they may require adjustments in the allocation of resources, the design of programs, and the delivery of care. For example, health services that were previously targeted at adolescents may need to be expanded to include people up to 65 years old, while health services that were previously targeted at older people may need to be tailored to different subgroups of elderly people with different needs and preferences.
The new age categories also have implications for individual health and well-being, as they may challenge the stereotypes and stigma associated with aging. For example, people who are considered youth according to the new age categories may feel more empowered and motivated to pursue their goals and aspirations, while people who are considered elderly according to the new age categories may feel more valued and respected for their wisdom and experience.
The new age categories according to WHO are a result of the changing demographics and health status of the global population. They are based on functional age rather than chronological age, and they reflect 9160f4acd4