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'Good health adds life to years' is this year's World Health Day

'Good health adds life to years' is this year's World Health Day © Karsten Thormaehlen

The World Health Day is celebrated every year all around the globe on April 7th to mark the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO). This year, the theme of the celebration will be “Ageing and health”.

Coinciding with the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations, 2012’s World Health Day celebrations are organised around the slogan "Good health adds life to years". Campaign activities and materials focus on 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.

In the 21st century, health is determined by and contributes to broad social trends. Economies are globalizing, more and more people live and work in cities, family patterns are changing and technology is evolving rapidly. One of the biggest social transformations is population ageing. Soon, the world will have more old people than children, and more people of very old age than ever before.

This year, the WHO also makes a call to fight "ageism", the stereotyping of, and discrimination against, individuals or groups because of their age. Ageist attitudes can portray older people as frail, "past their sell-by date", unable to work, physically weak, mentally slow, disabled or helpless. Ageism serves as a social divider between young and old. Click here to see a special photo gallery, with images from around the world challenging the current stereotypes older people have to grapple with.

On World Health Day 2012, WHO recommends the following three calls to action:

  1. Promote and live a healthy lifestyle across the life-course
  2. Create age-friendly environments and policies to engage older men and women
  3. Make primary health care age-friendly

For more information on World Heal Day, please visit http://www.who.int/entity/world-health-day/2012/en/