Many times you hear about a disease being more dangerous to the young and to the elderly. But what are the (approximate) ages that these statements are referring to?

  • 1
    I think the word 'immunocompromised' is also used commonly, which includes sick people as well as young/old
    – Aequitas
    Jan 30 '20 at 6:04
  • 4
    IMO, it's left vague on purpose, since both "young" and "elderly" refer to people in weaker condition, and for instance some might start being "weaker" at 50 and others at 70.
    – Déjà vu
    Jan 30 '20 at 6:12
  • @RingØ Yeh that's probably true, and yeah the elderly is probably going to be quite a large range. What about for the younger side of this though? I feel like there won't be much difference right? I know there's not going to be exact numbers and it'll depend on the disease as well, just approximately what age of child should we be extremely worried about?
    – Aequitas
    Jan 30 '20 at 6:17
  • In both cases, it's unlikely the risk is constant: it's not like you reach some age and suddenly become susceptible, and then stay equally susceptible from then on. Rather, risk is likely to increase with old age, and increase with younger age. The older the old, the more risk; the younger the young, the more risk. Jan 30 '20 at 6:44
  • Speaking of "young and elderly" is generalizing. It works well for statistically large samples, but the terms can't be accurately tied to specific calendar ages or specific individuals. E.g. I'm 67 by the calendar, but I'm not elderly. Other than skin wrinkles and hair colour, I have better physical condition and health than I ever had in my "youth". Jan 30 '20 at 14:34


Definition of Older Adolescent and Young Adult:

For the purposes of this review, the older adolescent-young adult age range is considered to be 15 to 29 years of age. Most of the published analyses that have been performed on this age group were performed on subgroups in this age range, such as 15 to 19, 20 to 29, and 16 to 21 years of age. When known, the age range is specified in this review.


The term elderly usually refers to those age 65 or older. Examples of the article titles:

Other age categories (healthychildren.org):

  • Newborn (neonate): birth to 28 days
  • Baby (infant): birth to 1 year
  • Toddler: 1-3 years
  • Preschool child: 2-5 years
  • School child 5-12 years
  • Teen: 12-18 years
  • Adult: 18 years and older
  • Postmenopausal: after cessation of menstruation: 45 years in average
  • Note that preschools take children at 2 years old here in the UK. Jan 30 '20 at 11:38

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