Tuesday, 03 February 2015 19:17

Non-communicable Diseases

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The World Health Organization (WHO) is recommending that nations increase efforts to prevent their citizens from dying prematurely of non-communicable diseases (NCD). The WHO recently reported that nearly 38 million lives were lost to NCDs in 2012, and that 16 million of the deaths were preventable, an increase from 14.6 million in 2000.

What are the Primary Causes?

Globalization and urbanization have helped spread unhealthy lifestyles that are threatening public health worldwide. Habits such as smoking, alcohol consumption, eating too much fat, salt and sugar have brought on NCDs such as heart and lung diseases, stroke, cancer and diabetes. These diseases are largely preventable. Approximately 82 percent of NCD deaths that occur before the age of 70 take place in middle and poor income countries where the population is more likely to be vulnerable to harmful products and whose inhabitants have very limited access to healthcare. The deaths are closely associated with poverty, as the premature death of a breadwinner drains family resources and forces many people into destitution. “NCDs are one of the factors that must be addressed in order to alleviate poverty,” says Julian Omidi, co-founder of No More Poverty.

Progress is Being Made

Since 2011, the WHO has been seeking to reduce deaths from NCDs by 25 percent by the year 2025, with guidelines that will address the highest risk factors such as tobacco use, salt intake, physical inactivity, high blood pressure and alcohol use. With 190 countries participating, the organization hopes the governments will help promote healthier habits by restricting advertisements for alcohol and tobacco, and implement policies in agriculture, education, food production, trade, taxation, urban development and healthcare, to help reach its target. Several countries have already achieved progress in some areas: • Turkey reduced smoking rates by 13.4 percent since 2008 through price hikes and a ban on tobacco advertisements. • Hungary registered a 27 percent drop in junk-food sales through high taxation. • Brazil’s NCD mortality rate dropped by 1.8 percent per year with the expansion of healthcare. • Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Canada, Mexico and the US promote salt reduction in foods and bread. For the full report, Click here.
Read 718 times Last modified on Tuesday, 03 February 2015 19:46

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