Healthy aging essential as Europeans of retirement age will soon outstrip youth

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. outnumber / ˌaʊtˈnʌm bər / (v.) – to be greater in number than someone or something

    According to a survey, women continue to outnumber men in college.

  2. urge / ɜrdʒ / (v.) – to strongly advise or suggest that someone does something

    Doctors are urging parents to avoid screen time for children under two years old.

  3. outstrip / ˌaʊtˈstrɪp / (v.) – to be greater in amount, degree, or success than someone or something

    Many governments are worried that the demand for food will outstrip the supply.

  4. brisk / brɪsk / (adj.) – quick and full of energy

    My grandparents regularly go for a brisk walk.

  5. vigorous / ˈvɪg ər əs / (adj.) – very forceful and energetic

    Doing 30 minutes of vigorous exercise daily is a good habit.


Read the text below.

As the number of elderly people in Europe starts to outnumber the young, the World Health Organization is warning it’s time to introduce healthier lifestyles.

The UN agency says countries can expect to be under greater pressure from chronic diseases if there are no changes. A new report from the World Health Organization is urging Europeans to take steps toward a healthier lifestyle. At the forefront of its campaign is the message to eat foods made from fresh products without added sugar, fat and salt.

Also, it recommends exercise to prevent chronic diseases that come from obesity. It says the root causes of poor health in old age are a lack of exercise and overconsumption of unhealthy food.

The WHO is basing its campaign on UN statistics which show the number of people reaching the average retirement of around 65 next year will outstrip the number of 15-year-olds in Europe. It warns a larger elderly population will present social, financial and health challenges.

The WHO is urging countries to focus on healthy aging. It says age needn’t be linked to diseases like cancer, diabetes, and dementia if the groundwork is provided for people to protect their wellbeing. Stephen Whiting, WHO Europe’s Technical Advisor on Sport and Health says governments need to start investing in preventing poor health in old age now. He says the COVID pandemic has shown that healthier people are better able to withstand disease.

According to the WHO Europe report on healthy aging people aged 65 and older are recommended to do “moderate-intensity aerobic exercise” for at least two and a half hours each week. This can be a brisk walk.

Alternatively, for fitter people, it advises 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise such as swimming or jogging. It says it’s also vital for more elderly people to do muscle strengthening at least two days a week to improve mobility and prevent falls. It advises people with chronic disease to do as much exercise as they are capable of.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • According to UN statistics, the number of people 65 years old and above will outstrip the 15-year-olds in Europe. And this will present social, financial, and health challenges. Why do you think this situation will cause several challenges? Discuss.
  • Do you think the issue related to the growing elderly population is a problem in your country? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • How can societies motivate older individuals to engage in regular physical activity to prevent chronic diseases? Discuss.
  • Do you think the elderly will participate in programs initiated for them at the community level? How do you think they can be encouraged to join these programs? Discuss.