Non-Communicable Diseases Present a Global Health Crisis

Implementation of priority interventions would reduce global death rates by 2 percent per year

WEDNESDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- The global burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is increasing, and a global movement is needed to tackle them, according to a report published online April 6 in The Lancet.

Robert Beaglehole, D.Sc., from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues from The Lancet NCD Action Group and the NCD Alliance addressed topics proposed in the U.N. Modalities Resolution at the U.N. High-Level Meeting (HLM): the NCD crisis, priority actions, and international cooperation. They presented a series of recommendations based on a review of the available evidence.

The authors reported that NCDs, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease, are the cause of two out of three deaths each year. In response to the NCD crisis, five priority actions are recommended: prevention, treatment, leadership, international cooperation, and monitoring and accountability; and five priority interventions: tobacco control, salt reduction, improved diets and physical activity, reduction in hazardous alcohol intake, and provision of essential drugs and technologies. These interventions were chosen based on their cost-effectiveness, health effects, low cost of implementation, and feasibility. Tobacco control was identified as the most urgent and immediate priority. A global expenditure of US$9 billion per year is necessary to implement these priority interventions, and if widely adopted, will achieve the global goal of reducing NCD death rates by 2 percent per year.

"The U.N. HLM is a turning point in the way we approach global health issues, and it will place NCDs on the development agenda," the authors write.

Several study authors disclosed financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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