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Thursday, September 22, 2011

WHO targets non-communicable 'lifestyle' diseases

The World Health Organization has set out a plan to tackle non-communicable diseases like heart disease, which now pose a greater global burden than infectious diseases.

"Lifestyle-related" diseases are now the leading cause of death worldwide, killing 36 million people a year.

Much of the toll is in low and middle-income countries and this is where efforts must be focused, says WHO.

It suggests affordable steps governments should take.

The list includes measures that target the population as a whole, such as excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol, smoke-free indoor workplaces and public places, as well as campaigns to reduce salt and dangerous fats in foods.

Other tactics focus on individuals and include screening and treatment for cardiovascular disease and cervical cancer, as well as immunisation against hepatitis B to prevent liver cancer.
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The challenge to these countries is tremendous, but this study proves that there are affordable steps all governments can take to address non-communicable diseases”

End Quote Dr Ala Alwan World Health Organization

WHO estimates the total cost for adopting these strategies in all low-and middle-income countries would be $11.4bn (£7.2bn) per year.

In comparison, the cumulative costs of heart diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer and diabetes in poorer countries are expected to top $7 trillion (£4.4 trillion) in 2011-2025, an average of nearly $500bn (£316bn) a year, according to the World Economic Forum.

Many countries have already adopted the public health interventions, and have seen a marked reduction in disease incidence and mortality. Read more

This Articel Orignaly Published at BBC

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