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In the U.S., data from 1982 to 2000 showed a major drop in illness and disability among the elderly, though that has now begun to reverse, probably linked to the rise in obesity.
The graying population will slowly radically transform society, and retirement ages may soon be pushed back, said Richard Suzman, an aging expert at the U.S. National Institute on Aging.
"We are within five to 10 years of a watershed event where there will be more people on earth over 65 than there under five," he said. "Those extra years need to be financed somehow and we need to start thinking about it now."
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