Wellness Week in the Americas promotes mental well-being


Washington, D.C., 11 September 2017 (PAHO/WHO)-Wellness Week in the Americas was launched today at the headquarters of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Washington, D.C., with several activities scheduled across the region. Activities such as a seminar on how to improve well-being by reducing stress and achieving more, as well as other events promoting healthy eating and physical activity will also be held this week.

The slogan for 2017 is "Let's talk about our well-being!", with a focus on promoting mental well-being in the places we learn, work, play, and love. In the Region of the Americas, one out of four people suffers from some form of mental illness at some point in their life. Given the importance of promoting mental and overall well-being, PAHO has invited all the countries in the Region to participate in the celebration with activities related to this theme.

"This week we promote health and well-being throughout the Region of the Americas.Together with our partners and communities, Wellness Week celebrates and showcases the work that is being done across the countries of the Americas to promote healthy living, healthy settings, and healthy policies", said PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne in a public invitation to join in the week's activities, encouraging everyone to "join the movement and talk about our well-being".

Stress management, healthy eating, and physical activity such as yoga and dance are some of the activities that PAHO has planned for this week at its headquarters. A virtual seminar introducing people to meditation techniques will be open to the general public, both in person at PAHO Headquarters and online.

A highlight of Wellness Week is the Walk for Health, an event that started some 20 years ago. Staff, family members, and friends are encouraged to join in a walk along a beautiful route through Washington on September 15, leaving at 11 a.m. from the PAHO building.

On Sunday, September 17, PAHO will participate in Fiesta DC, an annual celebration of Latino culture in Washington, with health promotion activities and distribution of educational materials.

Different types of Wellness Week events are being held in many PAHO offices throughout the Americas. A family walk is organized every year in Brazil, with the participation of representatives of different international institutions and their family members. A "zumbathon" will be held as one of a number of outdoor activities in El Salvador. Staff members at the Chile office will discuss how to bring about behavioral change for a healthy lifestyle. In Cuba, a full agenda of varied activities has been planned in parks, schools, fairs, and educational events aimed at disease prevention and health promotion.

Wellness Week was originally inspired by Caribbean Wellness Day, held each September in the English-speaking Caribbean countries to raise awareness about preventing noncommunicable diseases through healthy lifestyles. Since 2011, communities throughout the hemisphere have participated in activities ranging from walks and bike rides to healthy food fairs.

PAHO works with the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of people throughout the Region. Founded in 1902, PAHO is the world's oldest international public health agency. It is the Regional Office of the World Health Organization for the Americas and the specialized health agency of the Inter-American system.