WHO demands action on chronic diseases

Geneva: Action should be taken to reduce the impact of chronic diseases, experts at the World Health Organisation have demanded.

The World Health Organization says 36m deaths from heart disease, stroke, cancer and adult-onset diabetes could be prevented over the next 10 years.

Tobacco, poor diet and insufficient exercise are largely to blame for deaths from these preventable diseases, the WHO says. It warns that low and middle income countries are hardest hit.

The WHO is calling for a series of measures to be introduced in order to reach the target of cutting deaths by an extra 2% per year by 2015.

It says governments, private industries and ordinary people in communities all need to work to achieve the target.

Its report looks at the impact of chronic diseases on Brazil, Canada, China, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the UK and the United Republic of Tanzania.

This says the main causes for increases in chronic diseases are people eating more foods which are high in fats and sugars, work and living situations becoming less active – and increased marketing of tobacco products to developing countries.
Chewing tobacco, as well as smoking it, is linked to disease. Simple measures could be used to tackle these factors, such as reducing salt in processed foods, improving school meals and taxing tobacco products, the report says.