Health promotion for older people in Hungary: The need for more action

Marzena Tambor,

Alicja Domagała,

Michał Zabdyr-Jamróz,

Iwona Kowalska-Bobko,

Agnieszka Sowa,

Christoph Sowada,

Stanisława Golinowska,

Petra Baji

The health status of the Hungarian population is relatively poor, compared to other countries of similar socio-economic development. Unhealthy diet, smoking, alcohol consumption and low physical activity are important risk factors leading to cardiovascular system diseases – the main cause of death in the general population and among people 65+ in Hungary. Yet, the OECD health statistics indicate that Hungary belongs to a group of countries with the lowest per capita expenditure on prevention and public health and that the level of this expenditure is decreasing. 
In Hungary, there is no legislation specifically dedicated to public health (Public Health Act) and the matters of public health and health promotion are regulated by various legal documents. The directions for public health policy are set in National Public Health Programmes. To address the problem of the ageing population, in 2009 a National Ageing Strategy (2009–2034) was adopted. The Strategy stresses the need to develop programmes for prevention, rehabilitation and health promotion for older people. 
The main actor in public health policy is the central government, namely its agency the National Public Health and Medical Officer Service. Also, territorial governments play an important role, though they have limited financial capacity to spend on health promotion and they need to rely on external unstable sources of funds when implementing health programmes for older people. NGOs might be important partners for health promotion along with public authorities. However, they require more financial and infrastructural support to be able to perform more activities in the field of health promotion for older people. 
Słowa kluczowe: public health, health promotion, older people, healthy ageing, Hungary

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