Every year on May 10, “Move for health day” is celebrated to honor the importance of physical activity in the prevention of non-communicable disease.
First introduced by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2002, this day holds significant importance. The purpose behind celebrating this day is to encourage Member States of WHO to promote physical activity with national activities. No wonder the day is known as “Move for health Day”. It is each Member States’ own decision to promote the activity of their choice.
To be more elaborate, on “Move for Health Day”, it is preferred to perform physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity that can be performed anywhere to improve health.
Objectives of Move for Health Day
There are 4 main objectives that must be addressed on this day. These are:
- Generate public awareness about the positive effects of physical activity in the prevention of non-communicable disease;
- Promote the benefits of physical activity;
- Enhance population-wide physical activity in all domains (leisure time, work) and settings (workplace, home, community)
- Promote healthy lifestyles through sports and physical activity by putting the spotlight on the result: stress reduction, decrease in the risk of disease, elimination of violence etc.
The purpose behind this initiative has been to report the drastic effect of sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle on the risk of chronic disease and illness. Numerous diseases can be listed that are directly impacted due to lack of healthy lifestyle. Physical activity makes a prominent part of this lifestyle. Overall, chronic diseases account for 60% of premature death.
According to statistics, lack of physical activity and exercise increases the risk of cardiovascular disease by 1.5 times. That holds all the truth especially when it comes to Pakistan. With the special inclination towards oily foods and the least desire to exercise amongst the people of Pakistan, the toll for cardiovascular deaths in the country is 400 deaths per 100 000 population.
The problem of obesity is not only confined to Pakistan, but is a global issue. Rapid globalization and urbanization followed by changes in diet and physical activity poses a major challenge to nations worldwide. Problems of obesity, cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems and cancers have consumed many states. The important thing to remember here is that most (if not all) of them are preventable chronic diseases, given the right steps and “moves” are taken.
It is every individual’s responsibility to encourage and boost the idea of doing something on “move for health day” with adequate help from the government, obviously. WHO’s Director, Dr. Pekka says: “Physical activity is a strong means for individuals to prevent serious disease, and a cost-effective way for societies to improve public health.”
What We Can Do
An initiative by the government is the most important step to involve all citizens in an act of promoting Move for Health Day.”
While I am not aware of such an initiative being taken or being advertised, what are our options? As individuals, we can all contribute and celebrate the day by coming up with an idea that addresses health issues in our society.
If you have access to the underdeveloped areas of the city, how about running a campaign on proper hand-washing? Proper hygiene alone itself a major step towards prevention of disease (think of diarrhea, cholera). I am aware that initiative may not fall under “moderate to vigorous physical activity”, but it’s a step.
Another doable initiative would be gathering your family and friends for a jogging/walking session in a spacious park. The idea would be to promote the benefit of a simple, do-able exercise in preventing chronic disease.
Don’t forget the importance of changing one person’s life by a simple initiative is an achievement better than many!