Sustaining quality of life on Earth and in space requires transformative advances in science and technology, along with new models, policies and behaviors that will guide human development. The search for innovative technology solutions to ensure healthy astronauts orbiting the planet mirrors healthcare challenges faced by providers throughout the world. The same requirements for simple, rugged, ultra portable, low power devices to provide remote diagnostic capability serves dual needs for humans living within the extreme environments on and off the planet. Targeting preventative health measures within the first twenty years of life offers a unique opportunity to change the human condition for this and future generations.
LAUNCH hosted LAUNCH: Health, a global forum focusing on health issues, at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida from Oct. 30-31, 2010. LAUNCH selected ten innovations that are preventive with a focus on nutrition, exercise, and health care. Specifically, the LAUNCH Challenge Statement focused on innovations providing and improving:
• Optimal nutrition (access, choice, and quality of nutritious food and required nutrients)
• Regular participation in physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices.
• Participation in primary preventive health care including supporting infrastructure, such as diagnostic and monitoring technology
LAUNCH: HEALTH CHALLENGE STATEMENT
The first twenty years of human development are critical to ensuring a more healthy, equitable and productive human population on the planet. In both developed and developing countries adverse conditions during the first twenty years continue to threaten current and future generations with unacceptable rates of acute and chronic disease due to infections and poor nutrition and inadequate daily physical activity.
For too many in the first twenty years of life, conditions have conspired to bring suboptimal physical and cognitive development as well as early, but preventable, deaths. Lack of adequate or poor health choices have increased the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, attention deficit disorder, and cancer in adult life. For some, poor health will become a generational inheritance passed on to future generations.
Profound opportunities and benefits could accrue to individuals and society that are living a healthier first twenty years including: increased overall life expectancy, improved quality of life, greater productivity and economic prosperity, improved cognitive ability for learning and creativity, and reduced strain on global health care systems.