A meeting under the theme “Health for the Elderly” was held in Hanoi on April 6, to raise awareness amongst the public on how to stay healthy when still young and how the elderly can lead a healthy life.

When speaking at the event, held in response to World Health Day on April 6, the Head of the Ministry of Health’s Legal Affairs Department Tran Duc Long, said that the rate of Vietnam’s elderly population is rising rapidly, which is a challenge for the country’s socio-economic development as well as the medical sector.

According to the World Health Organisation, around 142 million people, or eight percent of Southeast Asian’s population are aged over 60. This rate will increase to 12 percent by 2025 and to more than 20 percent by 2050.

Meanwhile, 9.4 percent of Vietnam’s population, or around 8.15 million people are elderly. The General Statistics Office forecasts that the number of people over 60 will make up 10 percent of the country’s population by 2017. The medical sector says that 95 percent of the elderly also suffer from chronic diseases.

The WHO advises young people of working age to have a healthy diet, take regular exercise and live life with as little stress as possible to keep fit. Elderly people need a pro-active environment for them to be able to integrate into their local community’s activities.

At the meeting, 100 elderly people from Ba Dinh district and Hanoi were given free medical examinations and medicines. Later, a programme entitled ‘Living a Pain Free Life’ will be held in nine of the country’s northern provinces to provide health checks for rural people.-VNA