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Brazil has an average age of 27 years, a proportion of elderly people in the population just above 6.2 percent, and 13.2 million people aged 65 and over. But by 2050, there will be 48.9 million people aged 65 and over, or 22.7 percent of the population. Brazil has one of the most rapidly ageing populations in the world and non-communicable diseases are emerging as the main national public health priority. These include increasing levels of obesity and other conditions associated with a lack of physical activity. There is emerging evidence on the impact of increased physical activity on health, particularly amongst older adults, although this is not as well developed as for other demographic groups, despite them being the least active and most sedentary. It is also becoming clear that, the built urban environment can influence levels of activity, suggesting that interventions in this area could provide a useful role in supporting long-term strategies for public health.
There are very few studies on physical activity amongst older adults in Brazil, although there is some evidence that suggests it is associated with improved quality of life and health, irrespective of age, education and socio-economic status. Therefore, it is hoped that an enhanced understanding of physical activity behaviour of older adults in Brazil, the role of urban design in facilitating this and improved policy effectiveness will benefit the economic development and well-being in Brazil, through healthier ageing in place, reduction in future health burdens and enhanced institutional capacity.
Within the United Kingdom specifically in Northern Ireland projections have shown a rapid increase in its older population with around 23 percent projected to be aged 65 and over by 2035. An ageing society such as this poses a major public health challenge due to associated levels of disability, poor quality of life, morbidity and increased mortality. Levels of inactivity increase with age, with a concerning 75 percent of adults aged 50 or older not meeting recommended levels in Northern Ireland.