“Now is not the time for inaction”, argue G20 Health Ministers

Following ILC side event in Japan, Health Ministers pledge to promote the importance of prevention.

At an event hosted by the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC-UK), the specialist think tank on the impact of longevity on society, on Friday 18 October ahead of the G20 Health Ministers’ meeting in Okayama, G20 Health Ministers and global thought leaders agreed to cooperate to prioritise the prevention of ill health across the life course.

Following the ILC-UK event on Friday, G20 Health Ministers pledged to “promote the prevention, control, and management of communicable and non-communicable diseases and to promote health by implementing policy measures including raising awareness about healthy lifestyle and health literacy and promoting occupational safety and health, over the life course” in the Okayama Declaration of the G20 Health Ministers.

Speakers at the ILC-UK event included:

  • Dr Yasuhiro Suzuki, Chief Medical and Global Health Officer, and Vice-Minister for Health (Japan)
  • The Honourable Eric D. Hargan, Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services (US)
  • Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health (Singapore)
  • Julie Byles, Director of the Priority Research Centre for Generational Health and Ageing, University of Newcastle; ILC Global Alliance (Australia)
  • David Sinclair, Director, ILC-UK

Discussants agreed that especially in the context of population ageing, preventing disease and limiting long-term impairment and the compounding impact of multiple diseases are both vital for our health and will play an important role in supporting the economic sustainability of health systems.

Analysis by ILC-UK reveals that in 2017 alone, 27.1 million years were lived with disability due to largely preventable diseases. That number is expected to rise by 17% over the next 25 years if urgent action is not taken by governments across the globe to ensure that prevention is at the forefront of health systems.

US Deputy Secretary for Health and Human Services, the Honourable Eric D. Hargan argued:

“Prevention has become much more important in an ageing world. We have to be able to get to the problems that are going to strike older people before they’ve developed.”

“We need to leverage new technologies and expand preventative systems that are already in place to enable people to age in place and maintain independence for longer.”

Director of the Priority Research Centre for Generational Health and Ageing, Prof. Julie Byles argued:

“Healthy ageing starts even before conception. It’s never too early or too late for prevention.”

“Throughout our lives, we need prevention, early detection and management of disease, as well as physical activity, good nutrition and healthy lifestyles.”

Singapore’s Minister of Health, Gan Kim Yong argued:

“We need a whole-society approach if we are to turn silver into gold. We need to learn from each other on what works to create better solutions for prevention in an ageing world.”

ILC-UK Director David Sinclair argued:

“Investment in preventative interventions right across the life course is vital, both to support people to live healthier and more productive lives for longer, and to support the sustainability of our health systems now and in the future.”

“Such interventions include targeted screening programmes, preventative medications, supporting people to adopt healthier lifestyles, vaccinations against communicable diseases, and supporting people to manage long-term conditions in ways that improve their wellbeing and help them to enjoy more active, longer lives.”

“Longer lives could offer a significant longevity dividend, but the prevention of ill health needs to be at the forefront of policy making if we are to maximise this opportunity.”

This event was part of a series of global engagement events on prevention in an ageing world to reshape the debate around prevention and to promote preventative interventions right across the life course.



More information about the Prevention in an ageing world programme is available from: https://ilcuk.org.uk/prevention-in-an-ageing-world/.


For press queries, please contact Lily Parsey at LilyParsey@ilcuk.org.uk or +44 7400 294694.

About ILC-UK

The ILC is the UK’s specialist think tank on the impact of longevity on society, and what happens next.

We believe society has to adapt now so we can all enjoy the benefits of longevity.

We want a society that works for everyone, regardless of their age.

We know the numbers. We know the challenges. What happens next will define us for generations.