Healthy lifestyle key to a healthy and active old age

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An elderly woman in Nepal.

The number of people aged over 60 years is growing rapidly and are expected to outnumber the children under the age of five within the next five years according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The organization is calling for more attention to the health status of older people and a change of attitudes and common stereotypes which often prevent older people from participating fully in society.

The main health challenges for older people everywhere are non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.

However, WHO says the risk of developing these diseases at an older age can be significantly reduced by adopting healthy behaviours, such as being physically active, eating a healthy diet, avoiding the harmful use of alcohol and tobacco products.

Dr John Beard of  WHO says healthy lifestyles from the very beginning of life is key to a healthy and active old age.

 "The fastest ageing is now occurring in low and middle income countries. By 2050, there will be 2 billion older people on the planet and 80 per cent of them will be in what are currently low and middle income countries. Regardless of whether an old person can retain their health or not we need to make sure that the environment they live in allows their on going participation. And in every country there are different barriers that prevent that at the moment. In some countries there are mandatory retirement ages which prevent older people continuing to work. In other places there is an ageism that marginalizes older people and we need to change the way people look at older people and think about ageing and in other countries there are physical barriers. For example is you are an older person with arthritis of the hip in the middle of Africa how can you do your shopping."

Duration:  44"

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