Africa, with its many countries and ethnic groups, has a population of 800 million people and the highest rate of growth of the older adult population in the world. Urbanization and the HIV/AIDS epidemic are changing the traditional role of older adults. The epidemiological transition from acute infections to chronic diseases is occurring more slowly in Africa than in other continents but it is occurring. Many older persons are malnourished and live in poverty. Hypertension, stroke, osteoarthritis, chronic respiratory and mood disorders are expected to increase in incidence and are increasingly being identified in a continent without the resources or infrastructure as yet to mount preventive campaigns and to treat chronic health conditions. What is known about many older Africans is that they have the capacity to age well through daily exercise and healthy diets low in processed sugar and saturated fats. Aging Africans are generally regarded with respect and dignity. There is much that needs to be done to prevent deleterious aging outcomes for older adults in that continent and there is much we can learn about healthy aging and lifestyle prevention.
Key words: aging, Africa, epidemiological transition, developing nations, HIV/AIDS.
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