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Active Ageing Makes The Difference

New Zealand will lead the world in a series of walk events embracing the globe, to mark International Year of Older Persons 1999 and to promote active ageing.

Age Concern and the Hillary Commission are organising walks around the country on 1 October 1999, as participants in the World Health Organisation's Global Movement for Active Ageing.

The 1 October walks in New Zealand will be showcased as a forerunner to the around-the-clock-around-the-world Global Embrace on 2 October 1999. The international media will be invited to celebrate and promote the themes of the day - "active and healthy ageing" and the International Year of Older Persons theme "towards a society for all ages".

"Active ageing is the ability of people, as they grow older, to lead productive and healthy lives in their family and community," says Claire Austin, Chief Executive of Age Concern New Zealand. "It includes all parts of our lives: our physical, mental and social and spiritual well being."

"Older age is not a condition but a part of our life process with opportunities as well as challenges. The goal of active ageing is to add quality of life to our later years," says Claire Austin.

"The benefits of physical activity on health are quite well known," says Diana O'Neill, Hillary Commission Manager for Community Fitness and Leisure.

"But also important is our level of social and mental activity. Those who remain active have a better level of health, an improved sense of well being and a greater level of independence in later life. Regular activity combined with healthy lifestyle habits will contribute to good health throughout our life span." Diana O'Neill says.

The Global Embrace was conceived to inspire, to inform, to promote health and to provide enjoyment and good company. The walks in towns and cities around New Zealand and around the globe, are a chance to celebrate active and healthy living as a key to ageing well.

People of all ages are invited to join in.

For details of a walk or event near you contact your local Age Concern Council (in the white pages) or 0800 ACTIVE (0800 228 483) for your local Regional Sports Trust.

ENDS

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