While Non-Communicable Diseases account for nearly 90% of deaths and 84% of ill-health in Europe, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged the region to adopt policies that would reduce the burden.
NCDs – such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and diabetes could be curbed through policies that promote physical activity and curb tobacco and alcohol consumption, to reducing salt and sugar and eliminating trans-fats in food.
Such actions are the focus on the WHO European High-level Conference on Noncommunicable Diseases taking place in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, on 9–10 April 2019.
“NCDs are the leading cause of death in the Region, and pose a massive barrier to economic and social development,” said Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.
“While Europe is the only WHO region in the world where premature deaths from NCDs are decreasing fast enough currently to meet the target, it is also where the highest rates of alcohol and tobacco consumption are found globally.”
There is a gap in adopting such policies in East and Western Europe. For example, the risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases is 2–3 times higher for men born in the eastern part of the Region.