That adds to the potential bonanza. Market research firm Global Industry Analysts projects that fuel the boom in consumer base, “seeking to keep the dreaded signs of aging at bay,” will drive the U.S. market anti-aging products for about $ 80 million today to more than $ 114 billion by 2015.
The baby boomers who grew up in an exaltation of youth culture, against a range of options as to when and how to be part of that market.
Anti-aging enthusiasts claim that life expectancy can be prolonged through interventions such as hormone replacement therapy and dietary supplements. Critics, including most doctors say that many anti-aging interventions are ineffective or harmful.
Of the major organizations like the National Institute on Aging, the general advice is that a skeptical consumer on guard for potential scams involving alleged anti-aging products.
“Our culture places great value on staying young, but aging is normal,” says the institute. “Despite claims about the pills or treatments that lead to endless youth, no treatment has been shown to reduce or reverse the aging process.”
His advice is essential to aging well: Eat a healthy diet, exercising regularly, not smoking.
“If someone promises you today that you can slow, stop or reverse aging, probably trying to separate you from your money,” said S. Jay Olshansky, a professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago Public Health who has written extensively on aging.
“It’s always the same message:” Aging is their fault and that we have the cure, ‘”Olshansky said.” Investing in yourself, in the simple things that we know work. Get a good pair of running shoes or walking and a gym membership, and eat more fruits and vegetables. ”
However, such advice has not reduced the demand for anti-aging products, many with high price tags that are not covered by health insurance. These include cosmetic surgery procedures from $ 10,000 or more, treatment of human growth hormone from $ 15,000 a year and a product of skin care called Peau Magnifique that costs $ 1. 500 for a 28-day supply.
Another challenge for consumers is that many dietary supplements and cosmetics, unlike prescription and OTC medicines are not required to undergo government testing or review before they are marketed. The Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission did not suppress, sometimes blatantly false anti-aging claim, but overall there is little protection for people who do not get the expected results.
Mary Engle, director of the division of the FTC’s advertising practices, said his agency focuses on cases that may cause serious harm, such as bogus cancer treatments that can induce an ill person to give adequate attention .
She said the agency lacks the resources to fully suppress the ads exaggerated claims that prey on customers’ hopes for a better appearance and more energy.
“We often do not reach the level of fraud,” he said. “There are problematic for many ads out there and we really have to choose what we focus on.”
In contrast to the caution of major organizations, there are many vocal advocates of anti-aging products and procedures, including the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. It organizes annual conferences in the U.S. and abroad, and claims 22,000 members, most doctors.
In its mission statement, the Academy said that the disabilities associated with normal aging “are caused by physiological dysfunction which in many cases ameliorate medical treatment, so that human life can be longer. ”
One of the co-founders of the academy is Robert Goldman, a doctor of osteopathic medicine. The author argues that much of the resistance to anti-aging comes from the sectors of the healthcare industry and pharmaceutical products that are threatened financially – for example, the growing use of over-the-counter nutritional supplements.
“Everything has to do with what is to control the dollars,” he said.
Although many anti-aging interventions are expensive, Goldman said that people with limited budgets can still take useful steps, such as drinking purified water, take vitamins and use sunscreen.
“People should be healthy and strong at 100 to 120 years old,” Goldman said in a biographical video. “That’s what’s really exciting – to live in a period of time that the impossible is actually possible.”
Olshansky, who in recent years has been one of the harshest critics of Goldman, believes there will be scientific advances over time, perhaps based on studies of the genes of long-lived people, which helps reduce the rate of aging.
Meanwhile, Olshansky says, “I understand the need for personal freedom, the freedom to make bad decisions.”
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