Old Person
'Good health adds life to years': An old person sits on a park benchReuters

The UN called all the nations to provide adequate health service to aged people on the World Health Day (WHD) on Saturday.

"I urge governments, civil society and the private sector to commit attention and resources to ensuring that people everywhere have the chance to grow older in good health," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message to mark World Health Day.

The WHD is celebrated on April 7 to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization in 1948. Each year, a theme is selected for the World Health Day that highlights a priority area of concern for the WHO.

The theme of the WHD for this year is "Good health adds life to years". According to the WHO, in few years the population of old people will outnumbered than the young people.

Within the next five years, for the first time in history, the population of people aged 65 and older would outnumber children under the age of five. By 2050, 80 percent of the world's older people will be living in low and middle income countries, said a release by the WHO.

In the middle of the last century, the population of older people aged 80 years or older were 14 million people in the world.

In his message, Ban said that an increase in worldwide longevity was putting pressure on countries' health services.

"Older people make many valuable contributions to society - as family members, as active participants in the workforce, and as volunteers within communities. The wisdom they have gained throughout their lives makes them a unique resource for society. But more older people also means an increased demand on healthcare and social security systems," he said.

Meanwhile, the WHO has identified the main health challenges for older people in all the countries as noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease.

WHO Director General Dr Margaret Chan said, "People in low- and middle-income countries currently face up to four times the risk of death and disability from noncommunicable diseases than people in high-income countries."

"Yet most of these conditions are largely preventable or inexpensive to treat," she added.

The risk of developing all noncommunicable diseases can be significantly reduced by adopting healthy behaviours, such as being physically active, eating a healthy diet, avoiding the harmful use of alcohol and not smoking or using tobacco products.

Steps to Prevent Noncommunicable Diseases:

The WHO has outlined four key actions that governments and societies can take now to strengthen healthy and active ageing.

    1 Promote good health and healthy behaviours at all ages to prevent or delay the development of chronic diseases.
    2 Minimize the consequences of chronic disease through early detection and quality care (primary, long-term and palliative care).
    3 Create physical and social environments that foster the health and participation of older people.
    4 "Reinvent ageing" - changing social attitudes to build a society in which older people are respected and valued.

Quick Links