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WHO/NMH/NPH/02.8 DISTR.: GENERAL ORIG.: ENGLISH

ACTIVE AGEING: A POLICY FRAMEWORK

Active Ageing
A Policy Framework

World Health Organization Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health Cluster Noncommunicable Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Department Ageing and Life Course

This Policy Framework is intended to inform discussion and the formulation of action plans that promote healthyand active ageing. It was developed by WHO’s Ageing and Life Course Programme as a contribution to the Second United Nations World Assembly on Ageing, held in April 2002, in Madrid, Spain. The preliminary version, published in 2001 entitled Health and Ageing: A Discussion Paper, was translated into French and Spanish and widely circulated for feedback throughout 2001 (including at specialworkshops held in Brazil, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom). In January 2002, an expert group meeting was convened at the WHO Centre for

Health Development (WKC) in Kobe, Japan, with 29 participants from 21 countries. Detailed comments and recommendations from this meeting, as well as those received through the previous consultation process, were compiled to complete this finalversion. A complementary monograph entitled Active Ageing: From Evidence to Action is being prepared in collaboration with the International Association of Gerontology (IAG) and will be available at http://www.who.int/hpr/ ageing where more information about ageing from a life course perspective is also provided.

A contribution of the World Health Organization to the Second United Nations WorldAssembly on Ageing, Madrid, Spain, April 2002.

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ACTIVE AGEING: A POLICY FRAMEWORK

Contents
Introduction 1. Global Ageing: A Triumph and a Challenge The Demographic Revolution Rapid Population Ageing in Developing Countries 2. Active Ageing: The Concept and Rationale What is “Active Ageing”? A Life Course Approach to Active Ageing Active Ageing Policies and Programmes 3. The Determinants ofActive Ageing: Understanding the Evidence Cross-Cutting Determinants: Culture and Gender Determinants Related to Health and Social Service Systems Behavioural Determinants Determinants Related to Personal Factors Determinants Related to the Physical Environment Determinants Related to the Social Environment Economic Determinants 4. Challenges of an Ageing Population Challenge 1: The Double Burden ofDisease Challenge 2: Increased Risk of Disability Challenge 3: Providing Care for Ageing Populations Challenge 4: The Feminization of Ageing Challenge 5: Ethics and Inequities Challenge 6: The Economics of an Ageing Population Challenge 7: Forging a New Paradigm 5. The Policy Response Intersectoral Action Key Policy Proposals 1. Health 2. Participation 3. Security WHO and Ageing InternationalCollaboration Conclusion 6. References 5 6 6 9 12 12 14 16 19 20 21 22 26 27 28 30 33 33 34 37 39 40 42 43 45 46 46 47 51 52 54 55 55 57

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How Old is Older?

This booklet uses the United Nations standard of age 60 to describe “older” people. This may seem young in the developed world and in those developing countries where major gains in life expectancy have already occurred. However, whateverage is used within different contexts, it is important to acknowledge that chronological age is not a precise marker for the changes that accompany ageing. There are dramatic variations in health status, participation and levels of independence among older people of the same age. Decision-makers need to take this into account when designing policies and programmes for their “older” populations.Enacting broad social policies based on chronological age alone can be discriminatory and counterproductive to well being in older age.

The hands you see in the background design of this paper are celebrating the worldwide triumph of population ageing. If you fan the pages quickly, you will see them applauding the important contribution that older people make to our societies, as well as the...
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