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ASIA: Isolation, poverty loom for an aging population

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Myanmar man in traditional Burmese male wear called "longyi"

Myanmar man in traditional Burmese male wear called "longyi". Photo: Serinde.

BANGKOK, 14 February 2012 (IRIN) – With 60 percent of the world’s population, Asia has one of the largest concentrations globally of aging persons, creating a host of potential challenges, experts warn.

“Asian countries, besides Japan perhaps, need to plan now. These countries have grown older before they have grown rich,” said Somnath Chatterji with the World Health Organization (WHO) office in New Delhi.

One in four people in Asia will be 60 or older by the year 2050, rising from one in 10 in 2010, according to the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

Over 65 percent of Asia’s elderly population will be women.

“China and India clearly will be the countries with the largest population of older adults in absolute terms. However, China is aging more rapidly than India because of its one child policy,” Chatterji added.

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