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Health Promotion

  • Data Source:Department of Planning
  • Created:2019-02-25
  • Last Updated:2019-02-25

      Rapidly aging populations and increasing non-communicable disease rates are challenges around the globe, and Taiwan's health policies address these with new ideas and innovative technologies. Healthy aging is central to this vision because "prevention is better than cure." The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) works toward a healthier nation with policies for healthy births, active aging, less disease and greater quality of life.

      Past experiences and current analysis show two major health challenges for Taiwan. First, our society is aging rapidly. The National Development Council has estimated that Taiwan will move from an aged to a super-aged society in 8 years, and about 20% of elders are estimated to be at risk of frailty. Second, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) account for six of Taiwan's ten leading causes of death. A patient is diagnosed with cancer on average about every five minutes. Yet we can change this situation if we address major NCD causes such as smoking, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and obesity.

      The Health Promotion Administration has learned from past experiences and drawn up strategies in response to problems encountered then. HPA keeps up with global health development trends, basing services on a sustained commitment to comprehensive life-course preventive health services, health promotion in all settings, and national health surveillance systems. We continue to propose improved strategies to delay disability and dementia and to promote active aging, health screening and promotion, chronic disease management, and aging with dignity.

      Thanks to this wide range of services, citizens are satisfied with the health programs we provide. For example, we've built age-friendly environments in various settings, as well as organizing dementia-friendly model communities. We use community prevention theories to launch projects that delay disability. Seeking to increase wellness among the general public, we provide accessible smoking cessation services and create supportive smoke-free environments. The adult smoking rate has fallen to 14.5% and the second-hand smoke protection rate in public places is 93.6%.

      We built 22 local nutrition centers to promote physical fitness and prevent obesity. We also surveyed overweight and obesity rates, finding a drop in childhood and adolescent obesity and a slow increase in adult obesity rates.

      To fight NCDs, we continue to promote cancer screening, but with an increased focus on case management and tracking. We have gradually seen the results of cancer prevention initiatives with incidence slowly flattening, particularly fewer colorectal cancers. As for growing old with dignity, we incorporate dementia-friendly, aging-friendly and compassionate communities as one strategy. Based on this foundation, we promote social participation by serving frail elders, dementia patients and those with serious or terminal illnesses, as well as supporting bereaved family members to increase caring in the community.

      We developed health literacy tools and shared decision-making materials for health promotion interventions, so citizens have more healthy alternatives to choose from. We also cooperated with the Ministry of Health and Welfare to launch health-enhancing projects for aboriginal townships at the individual, family and community levels.

      We want our citizens to live long and healthy lives. As we continue to develop these strategies, we will evaluate them by how well they advance our goals: to promote health knowledge and health literacy; to prolong life expectancy and reduce health inequality; to cultivate healthy lifestyles; and to offer personalized preventive health services. The aim is for every citizen to make healthier behavior choices to achieve "health for all, healthy country."