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"Good health adds life to years"

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Belize City, 12 April 2012 - World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April to mark the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO). Due to the Easter holidays the day is being celebrated, today, 12 April, in the Americas.  Belize will join the Pan American Health Organization/ World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) in its celebrations on 18 April.
World Health Day provides a unique opportunity for communities from across the world to come together on one day to promote actions that can improve our health. This year, it is dedicated to Healthy Aging, an important issue that resonates in our society’s current demographic transition.

Efforts surrounding World Health Day 2012 seek to raise awareness of not only the challenges that accompany an aging population but also are intended to build commitment to policies, programs and social movements that facilitate healthy longevity.

In her message, Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), states that by 2020 the Americas will have 200 million older people with more than half living in Latin America and the Caribbean.  This dramatic shift presents us with a window of opportunity to focus new attention on healthy aging. By making adequate social and health investments now we can promote longer, healthier and more active lives while ensuring that aging populations do not become an economic burden for countries development.

In Belize the life expectancy has increased almost 20 years in the last 60 years that is 57 to 75 years of age.  In 2010, WHO estimated that female (77) would live longer than males (74). 

It is not important how many years a person can live, but how many of these years are with quality. Remember “Good health adds life to years”.  Improvements and advances in socioeconomic factors, science and technology are factors that have contributed to this increase in life expectancy.  However, these processes have also brought an increase in chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. Despite the efforts made by the Ministry of Health and the National Health Insurance, these diseases account for more than 33.7% of all deaths in Belize, and they are responsible for most of the complications and disabilities that older people are facing.

World Health Day 2012 seeks to promote good health throughout life to help us make the most of the positive aspects of ageing through societies that take care of their older populations and support their active participation in daily life by treating them as valuable resources and making them feel valued which in turn will lead to societies that are better prepared to cope with the changing world.

Belize’s celebration of World Health Day will take place at the Radisson Fort George Hotel on Wednesday, 18 April starting at 9:00 a.m. with a ceremony featuring a dance presentation by the Seniors Dance Group. There will also be available glucose testing, body mass index (BMI) calculation, blood pressure checks, and visual and mental health information, informative sessions about the importance of checkups and fall prevention.

The Pan American Health Organization, which is the Regional Office in the Americas of the World Health Organization, was founded in 1902, and works with all countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of their peoples. The PAHO/WHO Country Office in Belize was established in the 1950s.

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