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Johnson & Johnson Study Shows 45.5 Years as the “Tipping Point” for Adult Health

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What do you think of when you hear the term “over the hill?” The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms[1] defines it as “past one’s prime” and the term is used to describe the decline caused by aging. There is actually a science to studying where the pinnacle of that proverbial “hill” is—at what point do things start going downhill from a health perspective and most importantly, what can we do to postpone that trip “over the hill?”

At Johnson & Johnson Health & Wellness Solutions, Inc., our focus is on developing holistic health solutions that treat the whole individual. Behavioral scientists from our organization were part of a team that recently published a study in the journal PLOS ONE that has far-reaching implications for health maintenance and disease prevention in middle age. [Read the press release here.]

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The research team tested a study sample of 55,550 adults enrolled in a healthcare program over a three -year period to test the hypothesis that there is a breakpoint during the adult life that separates a period of relatively good health with a period of increasing declining health. The study revealed that the “tipping point” in adult health occurs at age 45.5, after which health starts declining at an accelerated rate. After this point, an “avalanche” of increasing health issues leads to a spike in morbidity and healthcare costs. This study validates an existing model that suggested that once an initial disease state occurs in older adult life, others follow.

Pinpointing the average age at which adult health starts declining is a critical first step in taking preventative steps to push that “downward slide” further out in the adult lifespan. Prevention and health maintenance need to begin early in life, well before the avalanche of health issues and their associated costs begin.

To read the PLOS One article, please visit

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