Czechs can expect to live longer, but not in good health
As elsewhere in the developed world, the average life expectancy for Czech men and women has been growing, but the sad news is that they are not spending their old age in good health. The Czech Health Ministry is ringing alarm bells and focussing on campaigns that will raise awareness of the health risks responsible for serious illnesses in the aging population.
“The main problems are cardio-vascular diseases, oncological illnesses, respiratory problems, diabetes and health problems linked to obesity. All of these illnesses are linked to lifestyle - poor nutrition, lack of exercise, smoking and drinking.”
A comparative health survey covering the past fifty years shows that while Sweden has raised the healthy life expectancy of its population by nine years, the Czech Republic has only managed to increase the life expectancy of an ailing population.
The Health Ministry says this is linked to high-risk factors such as smoking, drinking and fatty foods that are typical of the Czech national cuisine. The majority of Czechs don’t eat enough vegetables, don’t drink enough non-alcoholic beverages, and don’t move enough. The high tolerance for smoking and the nation’s love of beer all contribute to serious health problems in the over 60 age bracket. Surveys show that although Czechs put good-health at the top of the ladder of values they do very little to promote it. Sixty percent of the population is overweight and 30 percent is obese. Moreover few people bother about prevention. Alena Šteflová again:
In view of the country’s aging population the degree to which sickness is linked to old-age is alarming. The ministry is now working not only on the problem of increased health awareness among Czechs, but scrambling to meet the needs of the population on a practical level.