WHO portal brings aging data together

We live in a world driven by data and the World Health Organization (WHO) has now launched the first data portal to bring together global indicators for aging.

Data silos are often talked about in business; it’s impossible for organisations to come to conclusions, make decisions and develop products without having the right data at their fingertips.

Longevity.Technology: The same holds true in the world of health and Longevity. As we move further forward into the Decade of Healthy Aging, WHO has launched a milestone data portal to bring data on global indicators together in one place in order to monitor the health and well-being of an aging population [1].

The data will concentrate on people aged 60 years and over and will include a range of indicators including healthy life expectancy, major causes of death, prevalence of hearing and vision loss, how many older people are receiving long term care and how governments in each country are working to improve the health and well being of older adults.

WHO’s new portal breaks down data by age, sex and country to give users a comprehensive understanding of trends across the globe.


“This information will strengthen the visibility of issues relating to the health and well-being of older people and should ultimately help inform and drive action for national policies and plans to support healthy aging.” 


It is hoped that by bringing together these datasets, the information can be used to drive further research and improve understanding to improve not just chronological age but also biological age – healthy aging. The data will also provide opportunities to drive change at government level by pushing for policies which support healthy aging.

On launching the new portal, a WHO spokesperson commented: “This information will strengthen the visibility of issues relating to the health and well-being of older people and should ultimately help inform and drive action for national policies and plans to support healthy aging.” 

The new portal comes following a number of calls for a more comprehensive approach to the understanding of healthy aging in order to develop new and effective anti-aging interventions.

Number of persons aged 60 years or over by development group from 1980 to 2050:

Data source: United Nations (2017). World Population Prospects: the 2017 Revision.

For example, new research from leading gerontology professor Eileen Crimmins, recently called for research into the social and biological hallmarks of aging to come together more coherently in order to develop better Longevity outcomes. 

Meanwhile, the longest-running study on aging is still going strong and creating more data to aid better understanding of the aging process. The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) is a set of data that started in 1958 and gets more details and more valuable every year. 

Studies such as the BLSA show how valuable aging datasets can be and, now that WHO has launched a comprehensive aging portal for the globe, the opportunities to further aging research across the world will be greater and could ultimately lead to the development of better government policies for the support of healthy aging as well as new treatments and therapies. 

[1] https://www.who.int/news/item/01-10-2020-who-launches-portal-for-global-data-on-the-health-and-well-being-of-older-people

Image Credit: WHO / NOOR / Sebastian Liste

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