60 is the new 40, according to new survey on ageing

London: Cosmetic surgery is altering not just how people look but how they feel by changing perceptions of middle age, says a new study by global research group AC Nielsen.

It surveyed people in 42 countries and found 60% of Americans, the world’s biggest consumers of cosmetic surgery and anti-ageing skincare, believe their sixties are the new middle age.

On a global scale, three out of five consumers believed forties was the new thirties.

“Our forties are being celebrated as the decade where we can be comfortable and confident in both personal and financial terms. The majority of global consumers really believe life starts at forty,” AC Nielsen Europe President and CEO Frank Martell said.But that doesn’t mean they want to look their age.

Healthier eating, longer lifespans and higher disposable incomes have helped to hold back the years. However, for many people the biggest boost is coming from the surgeon’s scalpel, the survey found.

Confirming Russians’ status among the world’s biggest consumers of luxury goods, 48% of them, the highest percentage globally, said they would consider cosmetic surgery to maintain their looks. One in three Irish consumers, 28% of Italians and Portuguese, and one in four US, French and British consumers felt the same.

“Cosmetic surgery has become more acceptable and financially it’s become affordable. Our mothers might have gone to Tupperware parties but this generation is more likely to be invited to Botox parties,” Martell said.

With wrinkle-buster botox now considered mainstream, Martell’s tip for the next beauty trend was fat-removing liposuction in your lunch break.

“Lunchtime ‘lipo’ is likely to become the next cosmetic “special” on the menu,” he said.

AC Nielsen’s findings underline how a quest for youth has created one of the world’s fastest growing businesses.

Cosmetic surgery surged 35% in Britain in 2005 compared with a year earlier, data showed from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

Top sellers in the United Kingdom are botox at £400, eye surgery at £5 000 and combined face and eyelift at £8 000.

“We’re seeing more and more facial procedures, particularly people having their eyes done, we are getting people of all ages, even people in their eighties are getting surgery to refresh them,” said Douglas McGeorge, president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

Those who blanch at the idea of going under the knife are fuelling another boom with sales of anti-ageing skincare the fastest growing in the skincare business, AC Nielsen said.

And to tap that multibillion-dollar seam, companies are scrambling to discover ever more unusual products.

French beauty group Clarins will launch in January what it says is the world’s first spray to protect skin from the electromagnetic radiation created by cellphones and electronic devices like laptops.

It says the spray contains molecules derived from microorganisms living near undersea volcanoes and from plants which survive in extreme conditions such as alongside motorways and in Siberia

Human body becomes more gas-guzzling with age

Manchester: Scientists at Manchester Metropolitan University have concluded that active pensioners may not be getting enough calories to cope with increased “fuel loss” as they age.

The exercise scientists compared the walking abilities of a group of septuagenarians (average age 74) with those of people in their late 20s and found the former using more than 30% more energy to walk 100 yards at a set speed.

The increased ‘cost’ in calorific consumption is due to muscles overworking to support unstable joints and tendons and is, the researchers found, irreversible.

They also said tendons in the elderly were like an “old elastic band” – overstretching and not springing back into shape – and this too was causing over-usage of muscles.

Professor Marco Narici, Coordinator of the European-funded Better Ageing research project, said: “The elderly participants had too many muscles switched on at the same time and were seeping energy like a old car whose engine is out of tune.”

“They were quite inefficient and this is due in the main to muscles overcompensating for weak joints.”

He said the result was that the elderly tended to take smaller, more frequent steps, and tend to drag their feet; a walking pattern makes them more vulnerable to trips and falls.

The scientists, from MMU’s Institute for Biophysical and Clinical Research into Human Movement, also examined whether a 12-month programme of exercise could offset the effects of walking efficiency loss. But they found that after the training programme, the older volunteers were just as uneconomical.

Added Professor Narici: “Exercise can help build muscle mass and strength but the fitter people still consumed the same amount of energy. This, we believe, is because the main key is the way the muscles are controlled by the nervous system and not the size or bulk of the muscles per se.”

They found no difference between the walking efficiency loss between men and women.

The findings have been published in Acta Physiologica and the European Journal of Applied Physiology.

The authors are Professor Marco Narici, Dr Omar Mian and Professor Alberto Minetti at the Institute for Biophysical and Clinical Research into Human Movement, Manchester Metropolitan University.

Diet for your age and gender, say food scientists


London: A healthy diet is eating the right food for your age and gender.That is the advice from one of the UK’s leading food scientists, Dr Sian Astley, who belives that in the future food will be formulated for different ages and sexes.

She said the same diet is not for everyone that the sensible approach is best. Young women, for example, who those hoping to become pregnant should eat foods with folic acid such as green leafy vegtables, asparagas, citrus fruit, wholemeal breads and cereals. This form of vitamin B helps prevent defects such as brain and spinal impairments.
At the samt time they should also have an adequate intake of iron, as many women of child-bearing age do not eat enough red meat.

But as people age the body’s food requirements change. Busy people and mothers need to keep energy levels up therefore its wise to eat complex carbohydrates to provide a slow steady release of energy.

And in old age we need to prevent some of the common diseases such as osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s by eating calcium rich goods, vitamin B and plenty of oily fish.

Dr Astley, of the Institute of Food Research in Norwich speaking at the British Association Festival of Science, said: ‘The way we process vitamin B, for example, changes dramatically as we reach old age. Our body can still process it but really struggles to extract it from the food we eat. There might be an argument for a fortified food or there may be a reason for taking a supplement.’

Men becoming increasingly at risk of prostate cancer as they age so they should boost their intake of anti-oxidants that boost the immune system such as tomatoes.These foods may also help women who may be at risk from herediary cancers.

This new study is the latest to support the growing body of evidence that eating healthily is the biggest contributor to longevity.

Comments Dr Astley: “As we get older, our bodies are less effective at avoiding disease; our immune systems are less able to detect and mount a defence. This results in an increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cataract and arthritis.

‘Poor diet can accelerate this process whilst 80 per cent of casecontrolled studies support the hypothesis that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of age-related illness.’ She cautioned-however, that there is no guarantee that even the healthiest of diets will be able to ward off illness.

For instance, cereal manufacturers may provide versions fortified with particular age-groups or sexes in mind. ‘We are not expecting 500 types of Weetabix for every type of person, but perhaps five that are formulated differently for different types of diet or age,’ said Dr Astley.

Discrimination against older workers grows in UK

London: Britain has the second highest number of unemployed older people in Europe, according to a recent report from the main trade union body.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) which carried out the report also demands that UK companies must ditch sterotypes of older people.

In the report the TUC reveals that more than a million job hunters in the UK in their 50s and 60s are being forced on to state aid because businesses believe they are past their prime.

According to the survey, many businesses simply refuse to hire older workers or
pay to train middle-aged staff.

Frances O’Grady, the TUC’s deputy general secretary, said: ‘ Companies need to
ditch stereotypes of 50 and 60-somethings and capitalise on the value of
experienced staff by offering retraining and flexible working.’

Euopean Union rules aimed at ending age discrimination at work will come into force in October giving those who want to keep on working beyond 65 the right to ask to stay on. But companies can turn them down without giving a reason.

By 2046, the Government wants the state pension age – currently 60 for women and 65 for men – to have gone up to 68 for everybody. But the TUC says any savings will be swallowed up by state handouts to the unemployed

Britain has one of the highest rate of older people who want to work but cannot
find a job, says the report Ready Willing and Able. Only Austria has a greater percentage among the main European economies.

Quality of life can improve in old age, say researchers

London: Increasing age does not necessarily cause a reduction in the quality of life, and in some cases, can even improve it.

Research published online this month in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, describes how researchers looked at indicators of the quality of life, and found that in England it is above average between the ages of 50 and 84, and in some cases increases compared with earlier years.

The researchers from Imperial College London, Karolinska Instituet, Stockholm and City University, London studied the effect of health factors such as long standing illness, social factors like trusting relationships and socio-economic factors on the quality of life.

Dr Gopal Netuveli from Imperial College London, and lead researcher, said: “Although many worry that old age and retirement could be a time of hardship, this study shows that for many their quality of life actually improves as they get older. In particular, social engagement such as volunteering can significantly improve quality of life, even in very old age.”

The researchers found that factors such as a long standing illness, difficulties in moving about and carrying on with every day activities, depression or financial difficulties can all reduce the quality of life.

Factors such as trusting relationships with friends and family, frequent contact with friends and living in a good, safe neighbourhood were all found to increase the quality of life.

The team looked at data from 12,234 individuals aged 50 or over living in 2002 from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.

Professor David Blane, from Imperial College London and senior researcher, said: “An increasingly ageing population has raised the possibility of a ‘long and morbid winter’ for many old people, and a potential problem for national economies with more people to support than there are people to work.

“However this study indicates that many of the problems associated with old age may be compressed to the last few years and people are able to lead a fulfilling life after retirement.”

New Yorkers living longer

New York: More New Yorkers are living longer according to the city’s health department.

The Department of Health says just over 57,000 people died in 2004. That is a historic low and about 2,000 fewer deaths then in 2003.

Health department officials say the biggest factor in the decrease in deaths was the reduction in heart attack deaths (down 14 percent), deaths from HIV and AIDS (down 12 percent), colon cancer and homicide (both down 9 percent).

The life expectancy for New Yorkers born in 2003 increased to just over 78 years, more than seven months longer than the national average.