Washington, D.C., 11 April 2012 (PAHO/WHO) – The city of Washington, D.C., is joining the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in celebrating World Health Day 2012, which is dedicated to promoting healthy aging, with the theme “Good health adds life to years.”
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray officially proclaimed April 12 as World Health Day in the U.S. capital. On that day, PAHO/WHO will host a symposium on healthy aging followed by a special event for the community.
“The District of Columbia joins the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization to improve the health of older adults and encourage aging health initiatives,” says the proclamation signed by Mayor Gray.
PAHO/WHO's World Health Day Symposium on April 12 will feature U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius along with other health officials and experts on aging and health. Discussions will focus on how to incorporate aging issues into the public health and development agendas. After the symposium, PAHO/WHO headquarters will be the venue for a community celebration with music, games, and demonstrations on healthy living.
As noted in Mayor Gray’s proclamation, the population of the Americas has gained 20 years in life expectancy during the past half-century. By 2020, the region is expected to have some 200 million older adults.
“International and local communities face extraordinary health challenges in response to the aging population, and older adults have a right to access suitable health care, age-friendly environments and community resources that foster healthy longevity,” the document reads.
“Citizens of the global community, in partnership with older adults, must step forward and take action to reinvent aging in our society,” says the proclamation. “Healthier and more active lives of older adults can be achieved through evidence-based public policy development, changes to healthcare systems, and training of human recourses.”
World Health Day marks the anniversary of the founding of WHO in 1948 and each year focuses on a specific public health concern. It provides an opportunity to mobilize collective action around a single health challenge with global impact and to engage different actors in the search for solutions.
PAHO was established in 1902 and is the world’s oldest public health organization. It works with member countries to improve the health and quality of life of the people of the Americas. PAHO also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of WHO.
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