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Healthier lifestyles should be encouraged as world's population ages - WHO

The number of people aged over 60 will outnumber those aged under five for the first time over the next few years.

Image: SportsChrome/SportsChrome/Press Association Images

THE WORLD HEALTH Organisation is calling for people to begin taking better care of themselves as the balance of the world’s population tips more into the over-60 category.

Within the next few years, the number of people who are aged over 60 will for the first time outnumber those who are under five.

The WHO says that by 2050, eight out of ten of the world’s older people will be living in low- and middle-income countries and the organisation says that people need to start making more of an effort to ensure they reach old age in better condition.

“Healthy lifestyles from the very beginning of life is key to a healthy and active old age,” said Dr John Beard, director of the Department of Ageing at WHO.

WHO says governments around the world need to promote good health at all ages to prevent the development of chronic diseases, and to minimise the impact of those diseases through better early detection and treatment.

The organisation says countries need to take more steps to prevent non-communicable diseases and to provide timely treatment when required.

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According to WHO director-general Margaret Chan, “people in low- and middle-income countries currently face up to four times the risk of health and disability from non-communicable diseases than people in high-income countries.”

“Yet most of these conditions are largely preventable or inexpensive to treat,” she added.

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