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Urban Development

(Haradskoje Razviccio) Social Information Institution is a nongovernmental and non-commercial organization, founded in 2016, aiming to develop and promote advanced approaches to the creation of a favourable living environment in large cities and small towns of Belarus.At present, healthy lifestyle promotion is a key issue in the modern city environment. Among the target audiences are age 45+ men, which is related to men’s supermortality in Belarus (men live 11 years less than women). In 2018-2019, on UNDP assignment, the Institution carried out the “It’s the Time!” advocacy campaign focusing on the health of age 45+ men. Since 2019, the Institution has been conducting research on the anti-drinking topic taking into account its high relevance for the country. The Institution’s objectives include the development of strategies and other analytical documents addressing relevant healthy lifestyle issues and promoting the best healthy lifestyle practices.

Andrey EZERIN, Director of Urban Development Social Information Institution

15 years ago, Andrey being a journalist and communications consultant saw how close friends and acquaintance started to pass away. They died at their peak: young, successful, promising. And a little later, Andrey learned about the phenomenon of men’s over-mortality: by the age of 65 in Belarus, there are 696,000 men per 1,681,000 women, although initially more boys are born.

Andrey lives in Osmolovka, a most beautiful district in Minsk. He spent his youth here as well. There were numerous gatherings on his balcony: wine, cigarettes, heart-to-heart conversations.

“Why do men die so early?”

– Back then my lifestyle was totally different. I had beer and other alcohol with friends, took little care of my health and weighed 20 kg more than now, – shares Andrey. – I revised my life and realized that I have to change something.

Sport, healthy diet, neither alcohol nor cigarettes – all of this is a part of a man’s life. But this is just one piece in the puzzle of the bigger problem – high mortality rate among men.

– The main issue we raised in our initiative was as follows: “What do men dream of after 40?”. If the man has no dream at this age or no plans for life this increases the risk of mortality.

We have to dream just as intensively and dynamically as we did in youth. If you settled down, calmed down and have the regular set of fishing, country house and sofa – that’s ok. But there should be something more than that: an interesting idea that pushes you forward in life.

“What do you dream of after 40?”

The world has changed, it gives us more opportunities, more time for life. Therefore, the old soviet approach to have a family by the age of 20, adult children by the age of 40, sustainable job and retirement at the age of 60 is no longer relevant. One has to create and dream after 70 as well.

– My dream for the upcoming 10 years is to be in demand, – says Andrey. I assume that my peers are thinking about the same thing: how to stay in demand and continue doing interesting projects.

Exercises, sports and healthy diet is just the top of the iceberg. Interesting job, engagement in social life feeling of being useful, this is what I am planning to work on in immediate future.

At the same time, people have to adequately assess their capacity: one has to continue developing, master new technologies, re-train, there should be no fear about this. These things should make you feel excited to strive for the better.

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