PwC Luxembourg held its Annual Health Conference on Tuesday, 28 June 2022, the theme of which was “Healthier for longer”. Guy Brandenbourger, Partner and Health Industries leader, who hosted the conference for the fourth time, sat down with keynote speaker Prof. Eric Boulanger, Professor of Medicine and Biology of Ageing to discuss with us topics around prevention and healthier ageing.

Living a long life is one thing, staying healthy as you age is quite another. While life expectancy at birth is around 80 years for men and 85 years for women, there is a discrepancy in Luxembourg between the life expectancy of 80 years and only 65 years of life expectancy in good health. On an individual level, if someone reaches the age of 65 with no incapacity, they can then hope for another 11 years in good health. A strong objective, in terms of public health, for the next and new government in Luxembourg, in 2023 could be to push the life expectancy in good health 1 year per year, making it 68 by 2028, catching up with one of the countries with the highest life expectancy in good health: Norway.

Did you know that Luxembourg actually scores quite poorly in good life-expectancy? The first guest speaker, Dr. Jean Claude Schmit, Director of Health, Luxembourg Health Directorate, expanded on the importance of health in Luxembourg. The dangers of alcohol and cigarette consumption were highlighted, as they are very prevalent in Luxembourg and particularly with the younger generation

The dangers of alcohol and cigarette consumption are very prevalent in Luxembourg and particularly with the younger generation. Work, lack of education and low purchasing power can lead one to making decisions that are in detriment to one’s health, especially regarding the overall level of physical activity and nutrition. The aim of the government is now to make prevention a priority, after 2 years of COVID 19 pandemic.

Professor Eric Boulanger explains how 20 % of having a good-life expectancy is based on genetics meaning that most of the other causes of worsening this expectancy are preventable. They are influenced by environmental factors such as nutrition or health choices that individuals make. These choices or behaviours from individuals are made because they are influenced by little political engagement to push this topic, little interest from doctors to concern themselves with matters of prevention and finally due to lack of education on the topic of prevention.

The component of physical and cognitive ageing is also explored, and how physical and cognitive stimulation are important to slow down the ageing process. There are three stages of ageing, robust is where one is remaining healthy and strong. Frail is where one is at risk of getting diseases, but this stage is reversible by improving sleep, getting more physically active and improving nutritional intake. The last one is Fragile, where one already suffers from negative health conditions that are no longer reversible.

To help people become more conscious with regards to prevention and healthy ageing, they have developed an app called Tempoforme. This app helps to diagnose frailty in the general population and is linked to the Tempoforme health space, based in Lille (north of France), in which individuals can do some in depth testing and diagnose health conditions while in their early stage.