World Health Day – April 7th
Do not be mistaken. World Health Day isn’t about eating healthy food, using antibacterial products, hand washing or even sneezing into your elbow. World Health Day is focused on the promotion, education and support for healthier living habits that contribute to increased life expectancy. April 7th is World Health Day and it has become a collective action aimed at globally protecting human health and well-being.
In 1948, the World Health Organization (WHO) held the First World Health Assembly. By 1950, the Assembly had designated April 7th as an annual World Health Day for the promotion and attention of global health awareness.
World Health Day is one of eight official global public health campaigns marked by WHO. The others include World Tuberculosis Day, World Immunization Week, World Malaria Day, World No Tobacco Day,World Blood Donor Day, World Hepatitis Day, and World AIDS Day.
April 7th is World Health Day and it has become a collective action aimed at globally protecting human health and well-being.
World Health Day Annual Themes
Each year since 1995, WHO has assigned a theme for World Health Day. Their intent was to prioritize an area of concern that would result in a greater emphasis and, hopefully, a more targeted outcome of the selected issue. One of the most effective themes was the very first – The Global Polio Eradication initiative. Thanks to that year’s efforts, the level of polio awareness has risen considerably around the world. Today it is no longer the horribly dreaded disease, it once was with such a devastating effect on populations.
Other important themes adopted by WHO have been Emerging Infectious Diseases in 1997; Safe Motherhood in 1998; Move for Health in 2002; International Health Security in 2007; Healthy Heart Beat, Healthy Blood Pressure in 2013. This year the theme for World Health Day 2016 is Beat Diabetes. A perfect tie-in to the global discussion about obesity.
“Time is not on our side.” ~Bill Gates on global epidemics
World Health Day 2016: Beat Diabetes
Diabetes is a global epidemic. It is a serious, chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.
Diabetes is largely preventable AND treatable. The WHO estimates the number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. In other words, 1 out of 11 adults on the planet. This number is expected to jump to over 550 million by 2030 if nothing is done. In 2011, diabetes accounted for about 4.6 million deaths worldwide.
According to the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA), diabetes increases a person’s risk of serious health complications such as heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. The outcome of not managing the disease leads to dialysis, amputation, and blindness. Fortunately, it is entirely possible to live a healthy and full life with the disease when the individual uses thoughtful self-management practices.for serious health complications such as heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. The outcome of not managing the disease leads to dialysis, amputation, and blindness. Fortunately, it is entirely possible to live a healthy and full life with the disease when the individual uses recommended self-management practices.
“Diabetes is one of the most challenging health problems in the 21st century” ~ The International Diabetes Federation
There are 3 main types of diabetes. These include – –
- Type 1 commonly begins in childhood or adolescence and is estimated to affect 5% to 10% of Canadians.
- Type 2 diabetes occurs as a result of genetic, behavioral (lifestyle) or environmental issues. Developing type 2 diabetes has shifted down a generation—from a disease of the elderly to one that affects those of working age or younger. Today, 45 is the age showing the beginning of the uplift in diabetes and almost 30% of North American adults 65+ have diabetes.
- Prediabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are elevated but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes. It is estimated that about half of the people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes.
Not to be overlooked is also a ‘temporary’ form of diabetes – Gestational Diabetes. This is a complication of pregnancy and currently affects an estimated 10% of pregnant women.
Canada receives a “C” and ranks 15th out of 17 peer countries on mortality rates due to diabetes.
Global Health Concerns & Goals
Around the world, the occurence of diabetes appears to show the largest increases in low- and middle-income countries. In these countries, education continues to be the best approach to preventing and effectively managing the disease. Encouraging simple lifestyle changes have been extremely effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. It is mandatory to explain how maintaining a
Encouraging simple lifestyle changes have been extremely effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. It is mandatory to explain how maintaining a normal body weight, engaging in regular physical activity, and eating a healthy diet will contribute to a longer and healthier life.
Diabetes is a chronic, often debilitating, and sometimes fatal disease. It also has a huge economic impact as it is credited with creating significant escalating healthcare costs. The number people actually suffering from diabetes may be even greater than estimated, given that many living with this chronic condition remain undiagnosed for years.
Diabetes is a complex condition with a high burden of complications.
World Health Day 2016 goals are :
- Scale up prevention
- Strengthen care
- Enhance surveillance
“Self-management is the cornerstone of diabetes care and people affected by it need the knowledge and skills to properly manage diabetes.”
~ Dr. Jan Hux, Chief Science Officer, Canadian Diabetes Association
World Health Day @ Work
Earning a living doesn’t need to cost you your health. There are plenty of things you can do to make sure you stay healthy and happy at work.
Here are a few ideas:
- Stay germ free! Wash your hands. Thousands of germs are just waiting to make you sick. Get out the disinfectant and clean your phone, keyboard and anything else that you use frequently. Avoid direct contact with coworkers who are sick.
- Eat breakfast! It has been proven that people who eat breakfast are healthier.
- Think exercise! If you take public transportation, get off one stop early, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further in the lot.
- Drink Water! Staying hydrated keeps you energized and prevents you from thinking you’re hungry.
- Don’t skip lunch! Eating a healthy lunch is an important part of a balanced diet.
- Plan ahead and keep healthy snacks handy! Dark chocolate (yes chocolate!), almonds, raisins and fresh fruit are not only delicious but also boost your immune system.
- Be aware of mental fatigue! Keep beautiful and personal objects in sight – they have a way of relaxing frayed nerves.
- Don’t ignore stress! Symptoms include a pounding heart or palpitations, a dry mouth, headaches, odd aches and pains.
- Avoid overworked muscles and take regular breaks! Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is more likely to occur if you spend long periods without a break. Sit properly and use a speakerphone, a shoulder cradle, or use a headset at work when you’re on the phone.
- Get up and move! Frequent short breaks are better for your back than fewer long ones. Be fidgety, take a walk, visit a coworker rather than phone, use the photocopier, get some sunlight.
The most important way to stay healthy at work and at home begins with self-awareness. Know yourself, recognize your limits, schedule breaks and use your annual vacation.
Get plenty of exercise. It helps you both physically and mentally whether you are at work or home.
World Health Day may just be one day, but it is the day that reminds us that our health is something we must be conscious of and it needs to be a part of everything we do.