ALIM 50+ webinar highlights ‘young seniors’ as key age group for public health
Last 16 March 2021, our French member ALIM 50+ hosted a webinar on Convincing 50-65 year olds to adopt preventive behaviour. The webinar focused on the people aged 50-65, a rather ‘invisible’ population group that tends to fall out of public health, economic and marketing radars. Yet, those ‘young seniors’ are also a critical age group in terms of public health.
50 is an age where the risk factors for pathology and deficiencies significantly increase for both men and women. This is therefore essential for this age group to adopt preventive behaviour, in particular through diet, in order to preserve their health potential. Their behaviour will determine the "general health economy" of older seniors, 10 to 15 years later, found ALIM 50+ webinar.
However, this population is little considered in terms of products and services, Research & Developments and marketing, whereas 60-69 year olds are the biggest spenders, namely on food, health, personal care, insurance, etc. Especially the food sector is not considered as a major consumer sector.
Why has the food sector in particular failed to capture this group? The question has several answers, but the webinar also identified the key issue of communication. To talk to young seniors, we first need to identify the many obstacles that prevent them from first recognising themselves as such, and then from engaging in preventive behavior.
Antoine Gérard, Socio-gerontologist, Coordinator of the Housing and Quality of Life Research Unit of DOMITYS, explained three common objections:
- "It's too late for me"
- "I'm not old, so I still have time"
- "It doesn't make sense".
Tailoring the approach
The solutions he proposed are in line with an approach based on "immediate benefits" - an approach that he believes remains to be explored in relation to food - and on the individual commitment associated with "small steps".
ALIM 50+ recalled how heterogeneous the population of young seniors is. They consequently cannot be targeted with the same discourse nor the same style of communication or the same media.
Éric Sanchez, from AG2R LA MONDIALE, stressed the importance of conviviality and pleasure to adopt good eating habits and/or adapted physical activities. A positive dynamic that will have to be accompanied with psychological support to regularly mark the steps taken. Restoring an image will also be essential to help sustain this commitment in the longer term.
ALIM 50+ will carry out its work on the ‘young seniors’ in 2021 and 2022.