Chronic diseases and health promotion

Overview - Preventing chronic diseases: a vital investment

A final word

The causes are known. The way forward is clear.
It's your turn to take action

In many ways, we are the heirs of the choices that were made by previous generations: politicians, business leaders, financiers and ordinary people. Future generations will in turn be affected by the decisions that we make today. Each of us has a choice: whether to continue with the status quo, or to take up the challenge and invest now in chronic disease prevention.

Status quo

Without action, an estimated 388 million people will die from chronic diseases in the next 10 years. Many of these deaths will occur prematurely, affecting families, communities and countries. The macroeconomic impact will be substantial. Countries such as China, India and the Russian Federation could forego between $200 billion and $550 billion in national income over the next 10 years as a result of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Invest now

With increased investment in chronic disease prevention, as outlined in this report, it will be possible to prevent 36 million premature deaths in the next 10 years. Some 17 million of these prevented deaths would be among people under 70 years of age. These averted deaths would also translate into substantial gains in countries' economic growth.

For example, achievement of the global goal would result in an accumulated economic growth of $36 billion in China, $15 billion in India and $20 billion in the Russian Federation over the next 10 years. The failure to use available knowledge about chronic disease prevention and control needlessly endangers future generations.

There is simply no justification for chronic diseases to continue taking millions of lives prematurely each year while being overlooked on the health development agenda, when the understanding of how to prevent these deaths is available now. Taking up the challenge of chronic disease prevention and control requires a certain amount of courage and ambition. The agenda is broad and bold, but the way forward is clear.