By 2025, the 65+ population will significantly outstrip all other age groups in Malta. In fact, our rapidly ageing society was the underlying driving force behind the National Strategic Policy for Active Ageing (2014-2020). Without delving into the socio-economic and general health aspects of this document I will instead focus on a single aspect, namely, the vital role physical activity plays in maintaining health among the older population.
Chronic diseases account for a substantial burden of healthcare costs. The knowledge that a significant proportion of our elderly live with not one, but at least two chronic diseases, implies that Maltese society should be trying to lower the latter by tackling the former.
Chronic disease is often accompanied by low levels of daily physical activity, thereby compounding the risk of a functional decline leading to earlier mortality and morbidity and an overall poorer quality of life.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) strongly emphasises that physical inactivity is among the strongest predictors of physical disability in older people and chronic disease sufferers. Hence the concept of ‘prescribing exercise’ and not just…