The European Commission recently published its Green Paper on Ageing: Fostering solidarity and responsibility between generations. The rapidly ageing demographic of Europe brings challenges and opportunities which society must meet. This has resulted in healthy and active ageing becoming more of a political priority than ever before, including in the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing 2020-2030 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 
 
The paper highlights that levels of physical and social activity are central elements in leading healthy lifestyles. Engagement with physical activity carries a wide range of health benefits, including reducing the risk of developing obesity, diabetes, and other non-communicable diseases, which although avoidable, are rising throughout Europe.  
 
Leading healthy and active lifestyles would have a positive knock-on effect on the labour market, employment rates, and social protection systems, reflecting that leading a healthy and active lifestyle is not solely a health issue, but also an economic one. 
 
The paper outlines that although engagement with a healthy lifestyle and physical activity is a personal choice, it is also heavily determined by the environment in which people live, work, and socialise. Therefore, public policy can and should play a significant supporting role in creating healthy environments to promote healthy lifestyles. The inclusion of proactive measures to help prevent illnesses and their side effects would make it easier for individuals to adopt a healthy lifestyle.   
 
Europeactive has recently launched its Active Ageing Communities Project which focuses on creating active communities for people over the age of 65 to promote physical activity and combat social isolation.  
 
For more information on this topic, please read EuropeActive’s information paper on Active Ageing.  
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Feb 11, 2021 By Pauline Joskin