Erasmus plus - Stretching and Strengthening at Work interact

Stretching and Strengthening at Work

Introduction | Getting and Staying Active for Health Health and lifestyle diseases

Being healthy means much more than be free of disease! According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity ( WHO Constitution , 1946). Protecting and improving health thus requires more than straightforward access to healthcare systems; it also entails routine monitoring of health status, informing and educating the public about healthy lifestyles, and developing initiatives and policies to support health goals. Preventive measures in supporting public health in Europe appear to become of utmost importance these days since lifestyle-influenced diseases (such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer) are more prevalent than ever, as countries become more industrialized while people turn sedentary in addition to eating energy-rich diets ( Powles and co-workers, 2005; European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies , 2010; European Commission Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Knowledge Gateway , 2020). For instance, over 45% of men and women in the WHO European Region were overweight ( Figure 1 ) while there are about 60 million people with diabetes in Europe, or about 10.3% of men and 9.6% of women aged 25 years and over ( WHO Europe , 2020; WHO Europe , 2020).

Figure 1 | The prevalence of obesity across Europe Lifestyle diseases are quickly turning into the top-most economic burden on the health services across Europe. For example, cardiovascular diseases cost the European Union (EU) health care systems just under €111 billion in 2015, while cancer cost the EU €51 billion in 2009 ( European Commission Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Knowledge Gateway , 2020; United Nations , 2020). Lifestyle diseases (also known as non-communicable diseases) result in additional non- healthcare costs, for example productivity losses due to morbidity or mortality and costs of informal care. To tackle this gigantic burden of lifestyle-influenced diseases, that are mostly preventable, countries urgently require the most effective and affordable community programs to recognize health risk factors ( Figure 2 ) and positively impact wellbeing outcomes.

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