The impact of active and healthy ageing policies on e-VITA
Active and healthy ageing policies may cover a wide range of policies, in the widest sense even all policies related to ageing. However, here we’ll have a look at the more health and well-being related aspects of active and healthy ageing and how these policies relate to the e-VITA daily practices. If you’re interested in other ageing policies and their impact on e-VITA have a look at this article (click here).
The concept of “prevention of loss of autonomy” initially focused only on physical activity and nutrition but has considered the social link since the National Plan for “Ageing well” (2007-2009) and the environment of the older people since the Law No. 2015-1776 of 28 December 2015 on adapting society to ageing. This redefinition has made it possible to extend the measures for older people and to implement innovative policies for active and healthy ageing.
The Law on Adapting Society to Ageing has allowed the implementation of diverse programmes: for example, the program around “Promoting A Balanced Diet To Stay Fit After 55” or “Promoting Physical And Sports Activity”
In January 2020, France adopted a national strategy for the prevention of loss of autonomy, entitled “Ageing in good health” (2020-2022). It includes 16 measures, grouped into four areas: promoting lifelong prevention to delay the loss of autonomy; acting on the factors that accelerate the loss of autonomy from the age of 70; making the preservation of autonomy a priority for health professionals; and strengthening research and innovation so that France becomes a leader in this field at the European level.
The Strengthen Health Promotion and Prevention Act from 2015 aims to improve the promotion of health and prevention in the population’s living environments and considers the various living and care situations of older persons e.g. living at home or in care facilities. The Health Promotion and Prevention Act provides preventive measures for people in need of care, including health check-ups. On the website of the German Ministry of Health https://www.gesund-aktiv-aelter-werden.de/ , specific measures can be found to foster health and prevent diseases in older people.
At the national level, two policy instruments under the auspices of the Ministry of Health promote healthy ageing: the National Program “Gaining Health: make healthy choices easy” and the five-year “National Prevention Plan” which aims to implement interventions to promote healthy lifestyles and environments that are favourable to population health.
The “Gaining Health: Making Healthy Choices Easy” Program was set up in 2007 as a global strategy implementing the guidelines of the WHO and EU. It promotes education and information on healthy lifestyles and nutrition, to reduce chronic diseases and lower the burden on health systems and society. The programme is carried out through four specific actions: nutrition, physical activity, combating smoking and combating alcohol abuse.
The “National Prevention Plan” lasts five years and is the main planning instrument of the Ministry which establishes, through a participative process, the priorities and programmes to be implemented for health promotion and the prevention of illnesses. It includes a set of actions to promote physical activity and exercise among older people. These actions are designed to positively affect the health and well-being of an individual, but also to promote processes of inclusion and aggregation in society. In terms of physical activity, the “Guidelines on physical activity for different age groups with reference to physiological and pathophysiological situations and specific population subgroups” were published in 2019.
The Health Japan 21 policy (The second term of National Health Promotion Movement in the twenty first century) running from 2013-2022 aims at the:
- Extension of healthy life expectancy and reduction of health disparities
- Prevention of onset and progression of life-style related diseases
- Maintenance and improvement of functions necessary for engaging in social life
- Establishment of a social environment where health of individuals is protected and supported
- Improvement of social environment and such life-style as nutrition and dietary habits, physical activity and exercise, rest, alcohol drinking, tobacco smoking, and oral health
For older people in particular, efforts need to be strengthened to delay the reduction in function. To this end the goal is to control the increase of people using the nursing care insurance services; to prevent cognitive decline and locomotive syndrome; to maintain favourable nutritional status; to increase the amount of physical activity; and to promote social participation, such as work.
Concerning nutrition, the Japanese government published Guidelines on nutritional management for meal delivery services to promote health support for local older people in 2017.
Recommendations for e-VITA
Some recommendations could be made to improve life satisfaction and wellbeing of older adults without being health-monitoring related. Knowledge and understanding on nutrition, physical and mental health could be shared through educational exercises by e-VITA. Drawing on the active and healthy ageing policies in the target countries, all of them developed some kind of practical tips/guidelines that could be used by e-VITA. For example, the programs around “Promoting A Balanced Diet To Stay Fit After 55” or “Promoting Physical And Sports Activity” (France); the Ministry of Health website measures to foster health and prevent diseases in older people (Germany); Guidelines on physical activity for different age groups with reference to physiological and pathophysiological situations and specific population subgroups (Italy); Guidelines on nutritional management for meal delivery services to promote health support for local older people (Japan).
Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies (2021) Ageing policies – access to services in different Member States; MIPAA+20 country reports – France, Germany, Italy; Voluntary National Survey on the Implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA) in Asia and the Pacific – Japan