Friday, December 09, 2016

Keeping active is good for you. Why do most older people ignore the advice?

The UK's Chief Medical honcho reckons that adults should participate in 150 minutes of moderate intensity, aerobic, physical activity every week.

I am no doctor, but that strikes me as on the low side. Knowing something about physiological ageing it is vital to also include exercise that reduces the effects of muscle loss and bone density decline.

Clearly most Brits haven't read about all this exercise stuff or if they have they decided to ignore the advice. This report reveals that `physical activity is low, to nearly non-existent among Baby Boomers. Even those in their 50s are less active than those of the same age 10 years earlier. Two-thirds of all Baby Boomers undertake no physical activity lasting more than 30 minutes per month.

Worse still, there are parts of the UK where the rates of inactivity were as high as 80%.

The rising rates of obesity are not limited to older people. Any UK high street is depressing as you see so many young people waddling along. They still have some time to doing something about the problem, although I am sure most will not.

Older people are fast running out of time and fast causing irreversible health problems.

The issue for marketers is that obesity exacerbates many of the naturally occurring effects of ageing. Not only does it make it worse it causes it to happen at a younger age. Designing products and services for all ages now needs to be extended in scope to designing for all physical shapes and sizes. Dick Stroud

Why the Chinese should worry (a lot) about the country's demographics

Some charts are good news when the slope goes down. This one is, most definitely, not one of those. It conveys why China has a terrifying problem.

What it shows is the numbers of Chinese workers who will be earning and hence funding the pensions of each person aged 65+. I know that 35 years seems like a lifetime, because it is, but in demographic terms it isn't long. Somehow China is going to have to find a way of living with such a massive upheaval in the country's finances caused with the numbers goes from 8 to 2.

All answers and suggestions on a postcard sent to Xi Jinping, President of China, Beijing.

We in the West should not be too smug about these numbers - in Europe the number is expected to be even worse (less than 2) and int the US, to just under 3. The difference we have with China is that our support ratio is already low. China's falls off a cliff.

Now we can play about with these numbers by raising the age of retirement. However, the overall message is bleak, bleak bleak. Dick Stroud

The inequality between young and old is tiny compared with that between private and public sector employees

The OECD's Pension Outlook 2016 report shows that the gap between public and private sector pensions in Britain is the widest in the developed world. The gap is like "pensions apartheid" among younger workers.

UK civil servants' pension promises were so generous that an average worker joining the workforce two years ago will receive a 6% pay rise when they reach retirement.

The UK is the only country where civil servants will enjoy pensions worth more than 100% of their final salary. By contrast a private sector worker can expect a pay cut of nearly 50% with a total pension worth just over half their final salary.

All the noise that is created by the IFS, The Rowntree Foundation, The Intergenerational Foundation and above all David Willett's Resolution Foundation is about the inequality between old and young. They have been successful in ensuring that UK state pensions will be less generous in the future. What have they said about this huge inequality. Zilch. Why is that? Most of them have a background (and probably a pension) that is paid for by the state.

Does this matter to marketers? Yes it does. What group of older people should you target in the future? Think about it for a second or two. The right answer  = Retired Public Sector Employees. OK, it is a bit more complicated than that but it is not a bad starting point. Dick Stroud