The World Health Organization provides the advice and evidence needed for people to lead healthy lives. Good health requires the commitment of many, from lawmakers to lunch makers. And there are steps each of us can take to promote and protect health. These include being more active, eating healthy, and avoiding tobacco and harmful use of alcohol.
Being physically active helps all people, no matter their age, lead healthier lives.
Some physical activity is better than doing none. By being more active throughout the day in relatively simple ways, people can quite easily achieve the recommended activity levels. Below are the levels of physical activity WHO recommends people of different ages undertake.
Children and adolescents aged 5-17 years
· Should do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
· Physical activity of amounts more than 60 minutes daily provides additional health benefits.
· Should include activities that strengthen muscle and bone, at least 3 times per week.
Adults aged 18–64 years
· Should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both.
· For additional health benefits, adults should increase their moderate-intensity physical activity to 300 minutes per week, or equivalent.
· Muscle-strengthening activities should be done involving major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week.
Adults aged 65 years and above
· Should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both.
· For additional health benefits, they should increase moderate-intensity physical activity to 300 minutes per week, or equivalent.
· Those with poor mobility should perform physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls, 3 or more days per week.
· Muscle-strengthening activities should be done involving major muscle groups, 2 or more days a week.
The use and scale up of digital health solutions can revolutionize how people worldwide achieve higher standards of health, and access services to promote and protect their health and well-being. Digital health provides opportunities to accelerate our progress in attaining health and well-being related Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs), especially SDG 3, and achieving our triple billion targets for 2023 as articulated in its Thirteenth General Programme of Work (GPW13).
Healthy dietA healthy diet is essential for good health and nutrition.
It protects you against many chronic noncommunicable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Eating a variety of foods and consuming less salt, sugars and saturated and industrially-produced trans-fats, are essential for healthy diet. A healthy diet comprises a combination of different foods. These include:
o Staples like cereals (wheat, barley, rye, maize or rice) or starchy tubers or roots (potato, yam, taro or cassava).
o Legumes (lentils and beans).
o Fruit and vegetables.
o Foods from animal sources (meat, fish, eggs and milk).
Here is some useful information, based on WHO recommendations, to follow a healthy diet, and the benefits of doing so.
· Breastfeed babies and young children.
o A healthy diet starts early in life - breastfeeding fosters healthy growth, and may have longer-term health benefits, like reducing the risk of becoming overweight or obese and developing noncommunicable diseases later in life.
o Feeding babies exclusively with breast milk from birth to 6 months of life is important for a healthy diet. It is also important to introduce a variety of safe and nutritious complementary foods at 6 months of age, while continuing to breastfeed until your child is two years old and beyond.
· Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit.
o They are important sources of vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, plant protein and antioxidants.
o People with diets rich in vegetables and fruit have a significantly lower risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain types of cancer.
· Eat less fat.
o Fats and oils and concentrated sources of energy. Eating too much, particularly the wrong kinds of fat, like saturated and industrially-produced trans-fat, can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
o Using unsaturated vegetable oils (olive, soy, sunflower or corn oil) rather than animal fats or oils high in saturated fats (butter, ghee, lard, coconut and palm oil) will help consume healthier fats.
o To avoid unhealthy weight gain, consumption of total fat should not exceed 30% of a person's overall energy intake.
· Limit intake of sugars.
o For a healthy diet, sugars should represent less than 10% of your total energy intake. Reducing even further to under 5% has additional health benefits.
o Choosing fresh fruits instead of sweet snacks such as cookies, cakes and chocolate helps reduce consumption of sugars.
o Limiting intake of soft drinks, soda and other drinks high in sugars (fruit juices, cordials and syrups, flavoured milks and yogurt drinks) also helps reduce intake of sugars.
· Reduce salt intake.
o Keeping your salt intake to less than 5h per day helps prevent hypertension and reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke in the adult population.
o Limiting the amount of salt and high-sodium condiments (soy sauce and fish sauce) when cooking and preparing foods helps reduce salt intake.
Avoiding tobacco, or taking proven measures to quit, are among the surest ways for people to avoid many illnesses and, instead, take the road to good health.Avoiding tobacco or taking proven measures to quit, are among the surest ways for people to avoid many illnesses and, instead, take the road to good health.
In fact, there are immediate and long-term health benefits of quitting for all tobacco users, including lower blood pressure.
Here are some key points on avoiding the harms of tobacco use.
· Most tobacco users who are aware of the dangers of tobacco want to quit. Counselling and medication more than doubles the chance that someone who uses tobacco and tries to quit will succeed.
· If you are a tobacco user wanting to quit, it is essential to understand the importance of doing so for your own health and your family.
· Then, you must be confident that you can quit - many people have done so.
· If needed, seek support from health professionals to quit. There are a range of things people can do, from calling a quit line and accessing online material to attending a cessation clinic.
· Practical tips to help tobacco users deal with tobacco cravings include delay, drinking water, deep breathing and physical activity.