NEW YORK -- Baby boomers heading into what used to be called retirement age are providing a 70-million-member market for legions of companies, entrepreneurs and cosmetic surgeons eager to capitalize on their "forever young" mindset, whether it's through wrinkle creams, face-lifts or workout regimens.
It adds up to a potential bonanza. The market research firm Global Industry Analysts projects that a boomer-fueled consumer base, "seeking to keep the dreaded signs of aging at bay," will push the U.S. market for anti-aging products from about $80 billion now to more than $114 billion by 2015.
The boomers, who grew up in a culture glamorizing youth, face an array of choices on whether and how to be part of that market.
Anti-aging enthusiasts contend that life spans can be prolonged through interventions such as hormone replacement therapy and dietary supplements. Critics, including much of the medical establishment, say many anti-aging interventions are ineffective or harmful.
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From mainstream organizations such as the National Institute on Aging, the general advice is to be a skeptical consumer on guard for possible scams involving purported anti-aging products.
"If someone is promising you today that you can slow, stop or reverse aging, they're likely trying hard to separate you from your money," said S. Jay Olshansky, a professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago's School of Public Health.
"Invest in yourself, in the simple things we know work," Olshansky said. "Get a good pair of running or walking shoes and a health club membership, and eat more fruits and vegetables."
Such advice hasn't curtailed the demand for anti-aging products, from cosmetic surgeries at $10,000 or more, human growth hormone treatment at $15,000 per year and a skin-care product called Peau Magnifique that costs $1,500 for a 28-day supply.