News May 13, 2020

New Book Highlights Policy Initiatives and Economic Research on Healthy Longevity Across Asia

Asia health policy expert Karen Eggleston’s new volume, ‘Healthy Aging in Asia,’ examines how diverse Asian economies – from Singapore and Hong Kong to Japan, India, and China – are preparing for older population age structures and transforming health systems to support patients who will live with chronic disease for decades.

Rapid population aging is transforming societies around the world, and the Asia-Pacific region is on the frontlines of this unprecedented demographic shift. Life expectancy in Japan, South Korea, and much of urban China has now outpaced that of the United States and other high-income countries. With this triumph of longevity, however, comes a host of health, social, and economic challenges.

Longer lifespans will necessitate working to older ages, “but extending work lives will only be feasible if the added years are healthy ones, and will only be equitable if the least advantaged also benefit from healthy aging,” writes APARC Deputy Director and Asia Health Policy Program Director Karen Eggleston in her new book, Healthy Aging in Asia. “The great blessing of longer lives dims when clouded by pain, disability, and loss of dignity.”

[Listen to our conversation with Eggelston about the book and continue reading below. To receive stories like this directly in your inbox sign up for APARC newsletters]

Poster featuring the book Healthy Aging in Asia

Societies around the world must reduce disparities in health outcomes and address the older age-associated rise in the burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer. Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the vulnerability of older adults suffering from NCDs to newly emerging pathogens and the importance of building long-term, resilient health systems.


How are health systems in Asia promoting evidence-based policies for healthy aging? What strategies have they used to prevent NCDs, screen for early disease detection, raise the quality of care, improve medication adherence, reduce unnecessary hospitalizations, and increase “value for money” in health spending?

The concise chapters in Healthy Aging in Asia examine these questions, covering multiple aspects of policy initiatives and economic research on healthy longevity in diverse Asian economies — from cities such as Singapore and Hong Kong to powerhouses such as Japan, India, and China — as they transform their health systems to support wellbeing in older age. Eggleston edited and contributed multiple chapters to this new volume, now available via Brookings Institution Press. This publication is part of APARC’s in-house series with the Brookings Institution.

Karen Eggleston

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Director of the Asia Health Policy Program, and Deputy Director of the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center
Dr. Karen Eggleston

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