Crusading against ageism in America's presidential elections by Beth Witrogen, BA, MJ
Dr. S. Jay Olshansky is on a mission: He wants to eviscerate ageism in the US presidential elections. A professor of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Olshansky specializes in the upper limits to human longevity and biodemography, a scientific field he created with Dr. Bruce Carnes in 1992. He is unabashedly vocal about the way age has been "weaponized" in this election cycle. And, he urges, it must stop, "because science shows conclusively that chronological age is not relevant for either candidate...." As corresponding author of "Projected lifespan and healthspan of Joe Biden and Donald Trump before the 2020 election" (a special feature to the Journal on Active Aging available online), Olshansky directed a team of scientists and physicians to determine if Biden and Trump could survive the next four-year term. The team used independent biodemographic assessments of the two candidates' personal attributes--inherited and acquired risk factors for health and longevity--and public medical data that was evaluated independently by three physicians with expertise in human aging. The Journal on Active Aging spoke with Dr. Olshansky about his new research, why both candidates may be "super agers" and his message for those who would politicize aging.