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The President's Academic Council discussed health matters of the people of Estonia

The President of the Republic today with his Academic Council discussed health matters of the people of Estonia. The attendees of the meeting came to the conclusion that the state should pay to the health of the people of Estonia more attention than so far, and that an environment favouring healthy attitudes should be created in Estonia.

At the meeting, Director of the Institute for Health Development Maarike Harro delivered a report speaking about the main health-related problems, which cause concern. She also touched upon the issue of major risk factors, the prevention of health problems, and strengthening health.

According to Maarike Harro, circumstances contributing to the formation of the most widespread risk factors were those connected with consciousness, attitudes and approaches: opinions of influential individuals and companions, and approach prevailing in society. She also emphasized the importance of factors like an environment supporting choices favourable to health and preventing unhealthy choices, as well as the existence or lack of relevant laws and regulations.

Academician Ain-Elmar Kaasik spoke about the responsibility of private individuals toward public health. In his words, health-related issues in Estonia had been considered to be, in the first place, a problem of medicine, but health was also a problem of individuals and the population. "Health-related behaviour is individual, yet it can be affected by society, and shaping a healthy way of life is connected with changing people's behaviour," Academician Kaasik said.

Kaasik offered as solutions to the health problems of the people of Estonia such measures as shaping values and attitudes, increasing possibilities for sport and physical activities, appreciation of healthy behaviour, and differentiation of social tax by means of public budgets.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, December 9, 2003

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