Call for improved health among older people
Published on 05 April 2012 11:30 AM
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has demanded action so that people can enjoy their retirement years in good health.
The organisation made the call ahead of World Health Day on April 7, as figures revealed that in the coming few years, the number of people over 60 will outweigh the number of children under five in the world.
In four decades' time, it is believed that 80% of older people across the globe will live in countries with low or middle incomes.
In light of this, Dr Margaret Chan, WHO director general, warned: 'People in low- and middle-income countries currently face up to four times the risk of death and disability from non-communicable diseases than people in high-income countries.
'Yet most of these conditions are largely preventable or inexpensive to treat.'
Non-communicable diseases include strokes, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Dr John Beard, director of the Department of Ageing and the Life Course at WHO, said people can adopt healthy lifestyles 'from the very beginning of life' to ensure they are healthier during their later years.
Commenting on World Health Day, Professor James Goodwin, Head of Research at Age UK, said: 'The UK, like much of the world, has an ageing population - which is a cause for celebration. Naturally however this brings challenges for both individuals and governments, as chronic conditions like heart disease, stroke and cancer are much more prevalent in later life.
'With its expertise on ageing, Age UK is pleased to have been working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to develop and disseminate a tool kit for improving health in later life that can be used by low to middle income countries to develop strategies for managing chronic illnesses associated with ageing. The tool kit is the first of its kind and will be piloted in Ghana in 2013.'
Copyright Press Association 2012