Media centre

Stopping the global epidemic of chronic diseases: the world health organization to release new report

29 September 2005 | Geneva

Nearly 60% of all deaths are due to chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and respiratory diseases like asthma. Eighty per cent of these deaths occur in low and middle income countries, and half are women.

The World Health Organization's (WHO) soon to be released global report, 'Preventing Chronic Disease: a vital investment' declares that although this rapidly growing global epidemic will claim the lives of more than 350 million people in the next 10 years and cause millions more to suffer, the global recognition and response have not kept pace.

The report calls for urgent action at all levels to prevent the risk factors that are responsible for chronic disease, including unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and tobacco use. WHO will announce a global goal for preventing chronic disease deaths.

The World Health Organization will release the global report, 'Preventing Chronic Diseases: a vital investment' to the media on Wednesday, October 5th at 00:01 GMT. However the media have an opportunity to hear more about the report, under embargo, in advance.

News conference:Media briefing for 'Preventing Chronic Disease: A vital investment' (under embargo)

Where: UN Geneva, Palais, Salle III

When: 1530 CET Tuesday, 4 October 2005

Who: Dr Catherine le Galès-Camus
Assistant Director General, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health

Dr Robert Beaglehole
Director, Department of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion

Dr JoAnne Epping-Jordan
Senior Programme Adviser, Department of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion

Interviews: Pre-arranged one-on-one interviews:

via satellite: The WHO TV studio will be available for satellite interviews. Arrange a time slot (15mins) between 0900-1200 CET Monday 3 and Tuesday 4 October by calling Chris Black on +41 22 791 1460, or emailing:

via phone: please contact Communication Officers to set up exclusive phone interviews. (See contact details below)

Online and audiovisual support:
Media centre: A copy of the report under embargo in .pdf format is available as of Friday, 30 September at the website. Details for the password protected site: Login name: mediaguest, password: globalepidemic

Also available online:

  • ''Preventing Chronic Disease: a vital investment' overview in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese, Russian
  • Information sheets; about chronic disease risk factors, prevention, the economic impact of chronic diseases and widespread misunderstandings about chronic diseases.
  • Data: Regional statistics, plus country statistics for the nine countries featured in the report (Brazil, Canada, China, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania)
  • Photos: Gallery of 'Face to face with chronic disease' photo essays and poster series. Photos available for publication.

B-Roll: footage of case studies of chronic disease patients (United Republic of Tanzania and Switzerland). Sample of footage on website. For information about how to access broadcast feed via Eurovision, consult the website:
Launch Video: short video featuring patients living with chronic disease.
Video news release: script and footage available, consult website.

For more information contact:

Alexandra Munro
Communications Officer, Department of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion
Telephone: +41 22 791 5053
Mobile phone: +41 78 767 76 39

Young-Ae Chu
Communications Officer
Telephone: +41 22 791 4367

Jane McElligott
Communications Officer, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health
World Health Organization
Telephone: +41 22 791 3353
Mobile phone: +41 79 477 17 40