Noncommunicable diseases and their risk factors

Development of a draft global action plan to promote physical activity

Illustration about noncommunicable diseases and physical activity in Russia
WHO /Sergey Volkov

April 2018 -- Further to the decision of the 140th session of the Executive Board to request the WHO Director-General to develop a draft global action plan to promote physical activity, the WHO Secretariat prepared a draft global action plan and conducted wide consultation with Member States, international experts, interested stakeholders and held an open on line consultation during August and September 2017.
Informed by the feedback received, the WHO Secretariat has prepared an updated Draft 2 of the global action plan for submission to the Executive Board 142nd Session in January 2018. Further to comments and discussion of Draft 2 at EB142 a revised Draft 3 has been prepared for consideration at WHA71.

WHO’s Dr Douglas Bettcher receives major global tobacco control award

WHO’s Dr Douglas Bettcher receives major global tobacco control award

8 March, 2018 | Cape Town: Dr Douglas Bettcher, World Health Organization director of the department for the prevention of noncommunicable diseases, was today awarded a Luther L. Terry Distinguished Career Award for his lifetime contribution to tobacco control.

The WHO Tobacco Tax Simulation (TaXSiM) model

5 March 2018 -- The World Health Organization (WHO) has been working closely with many countries to examine the structure and dynamics of their tobacco markets, and to help implement better tobacco tax policy. This experience has led the economics team to develop the WHO Tobacco Tax Simulation Model (TaXSiM) to help countries with tax policy analysis, impact assessment and decision-making.

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

A young girl breaks a red ribbon as she wins a run race in India

10 October 2017– Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO's Director-General, today announced 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. The commission’s aim is to identify innovative ways to curb the world’s biggest causes of death and extend life expectancy for millions of people.

WHO launches Noncommunicable Diseases Progress Monitor

18 September 2017 – Governments are making limited progress, so more action is needed to address noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and the main risk factors to meet global targets to reduce premature deaths. Limited national progress has been made in the fight against NCDs – primarily cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases, cancers and diabetes – which are the world’s biggest killers, and claim the lives of 15 million people aged 30 to 70 years annually.

What is prevention of NCDs?

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.


  • 31 May 2018

    World No Tobacco Day 2018 - tobacco and heart disease

    Every year, on 31 May, WHO and partners mark World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the health and other risks associated with tobacco use, and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. The focus of World No Tobacco Day 2018 is "Tobacco and heart disease."

  • December 2017

    Sweetened beverage tax will help beat NCDs in the Philippines

    The World Health Organization (WHO) commends the Philippines as it passes a landmark law today with new tax provisions for sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB). The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act provides a Php6 per litre tax (approximately 14% increase in price) for caloric and non-caloric sweetened beverages. The initiative makes Philippines among the first countries in Asia to introduce SSB tax in their national agenda.

  • December 2017

    • WHO commends South African parliament decision to pass tax bill on sugary drinks
      The South African Parliament has taken a brave and powerful step towards promoting the health of the country’s citizens and reducing diet-related noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes, by passing a bill to implement a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, according to Dr Rufaro Chatora, WHO’s Representative to South Africa.
  • December 2017

    • Challenging the supply chain to reduce sugar in foods
      WHO has published a new study that investigates why manufacturers and other supply chain actors use sugar in foods and why they use it in such large amounts. The publication “Incentives and disincentives for reducing sugar in manufactured foods: an exploratory supply chain analysis” concludes that a comprehensive approach encompassing the entire food system is necessary in order to reduce sugar intake.
  • November 2017

    Tobacco industry admissions should strengthen global resolve on tobacco control

    In major victories for tobacco control efforts, four U.S. tobacco companies are publishing court-ordered “corrective statements” to set the record straight on the dangers of their products, while a major French bank has announced it will divest its interests in the tobacco industry.

  • November 2017

    7th Global Forum on Health Promotion

    This one-day forum will explore the role of health promotion from a Planetary Health lens. By bringing together health actors from various sectors the forum seeks to increase awareness on the far-reaching impact of environmental factors on the well-being of populations globally, and share ideas and approaches to address them.

  • September 2017

    WHO Statement on Philip Morris funded Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

    On 13 September 2017, tobacco company Philip Morris International (PMI) announced its support for the establishment of a new entity - the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. PMI indicated that it expects to support the Foundation by contributing approximately USD 80 million annually over the next 12 years.

  • September 2017

    • Tobacco tax reform at the crossroads of health and development
      The World Bank has released its latest tobacco control technical report, with input from WHO. The report details how increasing excise tax rates on tobacco reduces its affordability and lowers its consumption. This underutilized policy measure can simultaneously save millions of lives, reduce poverty, and increase domestic resources for financing development.
  • September 2017

    Philippines embraces efforts to step up cardiovascular disease care

    WHO is supporting efforts in Manila to step up prevention, detection and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, the world’s number one killer, responsible for one-third of all deaths in the Philippines. Ahead of World Heart Day – 29 September – the success of this initiative shows action can be taken to beat cardiovascular diseases. Noncommunicable diseases, primarily cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic lung diseases and diabetes, impact all age groups in the Philippines, especially the nation’s young.