Every year, World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1948. The topic of World Health Day 2012 is “Ageing and Health” with the theme “Good Health adds life to years”. WHO’s focus is how good health throughout life can help older men and women lead full and productive lives and be a resource for their families and communities.
According to WHO, populations around the world are rapidly ageing. Between 2000 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 will double from less than 11% to 22%, and the total number of people aged 60 years and over is expected to increase from 605 million to almost 2 billion. This “demographic transition” is occurring very quickly, particularly in less developed countries. Already, the majority of older people live in the less developed world, and, by 2050, more than 80% will live in what are currently low- and middle-income countries. Demographic changes are accompanied by new challenges: the number of people living with disability is increasing, the need for long-term care is rising, there will be a dramatic increase in the number of people with dementia, and, even in poor countries, most older people will die of the killer diseases of the 21st century such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes (also called noncommunicable diseases), rather than from infectious and parasitic diseases. In addition, older people often have several health problems at the same time, such as diabetes and heart disease.
On the occasion of World Health Day 2012, WSMI would like to outline the importance of self-care throughout an individual’s lifetime. As said by WHO, “good health is key if older people are to remain independent and to play a part in family and community life. Life-long health promotion and disease prevention activities can prevent or delay the onset of noncommunicable and chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and cancer”.
- Find out more on “ageing” in WHO’s website: http://www.who.int/topics/ageing/en/index.html
- Find out more on World Health Day 2012: http://www.who.int/world-health-day/en/