One ILSI Project: Healthy Aging


Aging is an irreversible and involuntary biological process, which manifests progressively at the cellular, organ and system levels. Changes in aging, in the absence of the disease, appear continuously, progressively and in a harmonious way

But aging can not be considered as an intrinsic programming process, there are interactions between individual and extrinsic factors, which play an important role, such as the environment and the sociological dynamics around older adults, which are capable of weakening the ability of genetic adaptation to the environment and ultimately affect the vulnerability of the individual

There is currently no agreement on the age at which a person becomes an adult, but it is usually associated with the age at which they begin to receive pension benefits. In most Western countries, an elderly person has a chronological age of 65 years. The United Nations (UN) does not have standard numerical criteria for the elderly, but they agreed to the cut-off point for the elderly population is 60 years.

A UN report in 2013 stated that: “Worldwide, the population of 60 or more is currently the fastest growing segment.” This age group has increased to 1.0 percent per year in developed regions and 3.7 percent per year in less developed countries. By 2050, the number of elderly people is projected to be 417 million and 1.6 million, respectively, in developed and less developed regions.

To understand the dynamics of the elderly population in the world requires a broader framework, which describes not only the general demography, but also the individual and social consequences of aging.

The purpose of the present study is to identify the factors that contribute to the good health of the elderly and to create an aging profile among the participating countries.

General objective in Costa Rica:

Support the development of a study focused on the blue zone of the country, located in the province of Guanacaste, more specifically in the Nicoya Peninsula, where several important points will be analyzed, including the diet consumed and the movement / exercise they have performed this people.


The study will be carried out in 2 parts:

  • First part: a descriptive study will be carried out with the objective of concentrating the epidemiological information on the profiles (demographics, lifestyle habits, health, education, environment and household economy) of people aged 60 years and over in the participating countries.
  • Second part: a review, whose objective is to gather the greatest available evidence on the various factors (cultural, demographic, epidemiological, socioeconomic and nutritional) that influence health in the face of pathological aging.


Main: Dr. Georgina Gómez Salas, Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, University of Costa Rica.

Assistant: Dr. Katrina Heredia Blonval, Nutritionist.

Progress in the project:

On Monday, August 14, 2017, the first field trip to the city of Nicoya took place. The objective of the tour was to meet three seniors with ages over 100 years to validate through a small interview valuable food-nutritional information for research.

Photo gallery

On October 16, 2017, Dr. Hannia Leon, Executive Director of ILSI Mesoamerica, had the opportunity to lead the conversation “Aging with Grace: Staying healthy and well late in life”, this at the XXI International Nutrition Congress (UINS-ICN) carried out in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This being part of the participation of ILSI Global and ILSI Mesoamerica in said Congress. In addition, Dr. Leon gave an introductory presentation to the conversation entitled “Importance of understanding healthy aging.”

If you wish to review Dr. Leon’s presentation, you can do so here, and to review all the other presentations that were carried out in the discussion you can access here.