The Malta Independent 22 October 2020, Thursday

International Day of Families 2016 - Families, Healthy Lives and Sustainable Future

Sunday, 15 May 2016, 15:29 Last update: about 5 years ago

The International Day of Families is celebrated across the world on the 15th of May every year. This tradition highlights the importance of families across cultures, and especially their role in providing for the wellbeing of family members.  The day also aims to increase awareness of the issues and challenges that contemporary families are facing.

The theme for 2016 is Families, Healthy Lives and Sustainable Future.   This theme was chosen to reflect the fact that families play a central part in ensuring their members’ health, and in so doing, contribute towards a sustainable future.   Good nutrition, timely healthcare, education and emotional support are fundamental to children’s development. 

Good work-life balance and a sharing of domestic responsibilities supports the wellbeing of both adults and their dependents.   Active ageing and intergenerational solidarity help to ensure a healthy quality of life for adults in their later years, also enriching the community through their participation while helping to protect cultural heritage.

This year’s International Day underscores the value of public policies, services and benefits that support families in ensuring their members’ health and wellbeing along the lifecourse.  This is especially true in the case of the most vulnerable, including children, frail older adults and persons with disability.  

Inclusive social and economic development provides the necessary framework for such policies, as families are increasingly recognised as the starting point in preventing the intergenerational transmission of poverty and the reduction in life chances that poverty brings.  Responsible use of our natural resources and stewardship of our common environment also help to ensure that future generations enjoy safe and healthy lives.

The National Centre for Family Research within the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society supports the focus of this year’s International Day on the role of families in promoting healthy lives and a sustainable future.  The Centre will continue, over the months to come, to implement its mission to increase knowledge about the needs, challenges and aspirations of families in Malta and to contribute to evidence-based policy and practice. 

Its national study on Sustaining Relationships, launched in February 2016, examined life and relationship satisfaction, and the factors that enhance or diminish it, across a large representative sample.   The study will be followed up by an in-depth enquiry to understand those values that are meaningful to couples today and how these are experienced in their relationship, and this study will be launched in early 2017.

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