News / Europe

Olympics Take Aim at Russia's Smoking, Drinking Problem

Olympics Take Aim at Russia's Smoking and Drinking Problemi
X
February 14, 2014 12:51 AM
Organizers at the Winter Olympics in Sochi hope the Games will inspire healthy living in Russia - a country that suffers from high rates of premature deaths due to so-called "lifestyle" factors. Government figures show 400,000 people a year die of smoking-related diseases, while alcohol consumption has long been a problem. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from Sochi.
Henry Ridgwell
— Organizers at the Winter Olympics in Sochi hope the Games will inspire healthy living in Russia - a country that suffers from high rates of premature deaths due to so-called "lifestyle" factors. Government figures show 400,000 people a year die of smoking-related diseases, while alcohol consumption has long been a problem.
 
Sochi is trying to project a healthy image.  In 2010, authorities signed a "tobacco-free" charter.

A stroll through this balmy coastal resort suggests there's still work to do.  Across Russia, 60 percent of men and around 25 percent of women smoke.  On top of that, studies suggest one in eight deaths are related to high consumption of alcohol, especially vodka.

Olympic volunteer and ex-smoker Andrei Prokopyev hopes to be part of the solution.  He helped set up a "Health Expo," a kind of roadside health clinic, in downtown Sochi.

"In Russia we have different kinds of problems. Some of them are common diseases like around the world. But most of the problems are smoking, drinking alcohol, and many other problems of addiction," said Prokopyev.

Professionals measure eight key health statistics, from blood pressure to hand strength, which are used to produce a "biological age" - a measure of how old your body really is.

Galina has a bio-age of 69, but she's only 62-years-old.

"I'm a bit upset because my bio-age is higher than my real age.  But I think this idea is really useful and they have given me good advice on how to live healthier," said Galina.

Many people who have come here to this 'classroom' of healthy living say they have been inspired by the Winter Olympics in Sochi, and they want to live healthier lifestyles to emulate their Russia heroes.

"I'm really enjoying the Olympic Games and I want to become healthier, because I want to be like those sportsmen," said visitor to Sochi Konstantin Kaznov.

In the Olympic Park, smoking is banned except for a few designated areas.  In June, a new law will come into effect across Russia banning smoking in bars, restaurants and shops. The government has also increased the price of vodka to stem alcoholism.

Volunteer Andrei Prokopyev is optimistic.

"Olympic, it is new start for many people.  Quit cigarette and also thinking about their health," he said.

There may be a long way to go - but volunteers in Sochi believe the Winter Olympics could inspire many Russians to embrace the healthy spirit.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid