Noncommunicable diseases and their risk factors

Synergies for beating NCDs and promoting mental health and well-being

Marilyn, manager of the Jamaica Cancer Society branch in St Marys, says goodbye to her friend after spending the day providing cancer screening services to women in her community.
WHO/S Bones

20 March 2018 -- As many people are affected by mental and neurological disorders (MNDs) – including depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and dementia – as NCDs.

This is why promoting mental health and well-being is a key part of WHO’s efforts to accelerate the work being done to prevent and control NCDs as it prepares for the Third United Nations General Assembly High-level Meeting on NCDs in 2018.

WHO Global Dialogue on Partnerships for Sustainable Financing of Noncommunicable Disease (NCD) Prevention and Control
9-11 April 2018


6 February - WHO and the Government of Denmark will host a Global Dialogue to address the critical gap in financing for national NCD responses. The goal for this meeting is to share information on existing and potential sources of finance and development cooperation at the local, national, regional and global levels, and explore new opportunities for multistakeholder and multisectoral partnerships in order to catalyse action for effective national NCD responses.

Third United Nations High-level Meetings on NCDs

Together let's beat NCDs: preparing for the third UN High-level Meeting on NCDs, 2018.

24 November 2017 -- Preparations are ongoing for the UN General Assembly third High-level Meeting on the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). The event will review global and national progress to protect people from dying too young from heart and lung diseases, cancers and diabetes.

Tenfold increase in childhood and adolescent obesity in four decades

A young obese girl, eating hamburger

11 October 2017– The number of obese children and adolescents (aged five to 19 years) worldwide has risen tenfold in the past four decades. If current trends continue, more children and adolescents will be obese than moderately or severely underweight by 2022, according to a new study led by Imperial College London and WHO. Children and adolescents have rapidly transitioned from mostly underweight to mostly overweight in many middle-income countries, including in East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

WHO to establish high-level commission on noncommunicable diseases

10 October 2017 - Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), announced today the establishment of a new High-level global Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs). The announcement came at the 64th Session of WHO’s Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean being held in Islamabad, 9-12 October.

What are noncommunicable diseases and their risk factors?

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease, are collectively responsible for almost 70% of all deaths worldwide. Almost three quarters of all NCD deaths, and 82% of the 16 million people who died prematurely, or before reaching 70 years of age, occur in low- and middle-income countries. The rise of NCDs has been driven by primarily four major risk factors: tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets.

Explore WHO’s work on preventing, managing and coordinating action to prevent and control NCDs through this website.

Prevention of noncommunicable diseases

Reducing the major risk factors for noncommunicable diseases – tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and the harmful use of alcohol – is the focus of WHO’s Department for the Prevention of NCDs.

Management of noncommunicable diseases

NCDs – including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes – kill 38 million people every year. Prevention of NCDs is important. However, investing in better management is the other key component of the NCD response.

Surveillance of noncommunicable diseases

Public health monitoring or surveillance activities comprise the regular collection of health information in terms of health indicators, the routinely analysis of indicators over time, place and between population groups, sharing of available scientific knowledge as well as the regular dissemination of results.

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