The Indian Medical Association (IMA) sponsored a walk in Visakhapatnam to celebrate World Health Day on Saturday. This event reflects a shift in national thinking on health, from controlling infectious diseases to managing noncommunicable diseases that frequently occur in older populations.  The Health Ministry of India has announced plans to set up eight geriatric care centres across the country under its National Programme for Healthcare for the Elderly. It will also initiate geriatric units at 100 district hospitals in 21 states and units at community and primary health centres.

Over the past century, life expectancy in India has dramatically increased and India now shares the prospect of supporting a large number of older persons.  The World Health Organization has developed four policy recommendations for countries to promote wellness and limit strain on the medical system. These recommendations include promoting healthy behaviours at all ages to prevent or delay the development of chronic diseases. Specifically, WHO recommends eating better, quiting smoking, limiting alcohol intake, and increasing physical activity.

Photo courtesy  Victor Frankowski