Chronic disease

How healthy is your world?

Overweight child
WHO/Chris de Bode

"Smoking, diet and physical activity should have received more attention as they are the underlying causes of the major chronic diseases," -- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

" … the important issue of chronic disease was not included [in the Millennium Development Goals]," -- Aloyzio C Achutti, Brazil

"Non-communicable diseases – particularly cancers and diabetes," -- Dr M Karthikeyan, India

Many respondents highlighted health issues that increasingly afflict developing as well as developed countries, like cancer, diabetes and stroke. Changes in diet, physical activity, and tobacco use in both rich and poor countries, have dramatically increased the risks of chronic disease.

During 2005, WHO – together with countries, the private sector, civil society and others – worked on several initiatives to stop the growing chronic disease epidemic, and launched a key report demonstrating the way forward, entitled Preventing chronic disease: a vital investment. In this report, WHO proposes a new global goal – to reduce the projected trend of chronic disease death rates by 2% each year until 2015. This would prevent 36 million people dying of chronic diseases in the next 10 years, nearly half of them before they turn 70.

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