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Unite to Fight Against the Threat of Non-Communicable Diseases
- Categorized in: Health Articles
Non-communicable diseases are called lifestyle diseases. These diseases are generally chronic (long term) and last our lifetime. Meaning, that as long as we live, we will continue to suffer from these diseases. We can only control the symptoms by taking regular medication and changing our lifestyles to a healthy one with regular physical activity and healthier diets.
NCDs are brought on by the way we live our lives; our diet and the amount of physical activity we do. Other factors contributing to NCDs include our environment – physical, economic/fiscal (monetary), and social environment. Genetics also play part in this multi-faced terror.
The diseases that are part of the NCD family are Diabetes Mellitus, heart disease and stroke, hypertension, cancer and chronic lung diseases (not exhaustive).
GLOBAL SITUATION – FACTS
The World Economic Forum ranks NCDs as one of the major global threats to economic development!
The NCD crisis is costing billions of dollars annually because people who have these diseases are not as productive as they would be if they did not suffer from NCDs. People with NCDs contribute to lost productivity through complications of NCDs, for example, foot or leg amputations from Diabetes Mellitus.
In fact, WHO states that for “every 10% rise in NCD, the annual economic growth falls by 0.5%.”
NCDs have now led to a Change in the Society and have become a Social Challenge for Countries!
9 MILLION PEOPLE ARE DYING TOO YOUNG! 9 out of 10 of these deaths are happening in low to middle-income countries. The Republic of Fiji falls I this category.
63% of all deaths are due to NCDs; out of these 25% are premature deaths (below 60 years old), meaning these premature deaths could have been prevented.
Almost 90% of people dying prematurely from NCDs live in low to middle income countries like the Republic of Fiji. BUT premature deaths from NCDs are happening all over the World!!
YOU CAN STILL WIN THE FIGHT AGAINST NCDs!!! HOW??????
1.Change your behavior…. everyone counts in the fight…remember the POWER of ONE!
2.Change the environment – make the HEALTHY CHOICE the RIGHT CHOICE – choose to be healthy.
3.Be infectious…help others switch to HEALTHY BEHAVIOURS!
4.Be a Health Ambassador for your community….help the community make health choices – together we can win the WAR against NCDs
5.Address the risk factors:
a.Smoking – there are 6 million deaths per year from smoking
b.Harmful use of alcohol – there are 2.3 million deaths per year from alcohol abuse.
c.Insufficient physical activity/ exercise – there are 3.2 million deaths per year attributed to this.
d.Unhealthy diet – this is reflected by the 2.8 million people in the world who are overweight and obese; and also raised cholesterol levels causing 2.6 million deaths in the world.
HOW CAN GOVERNMENTS, PRIVATE & OTHER SECTORS HELP?
- Help to make the healthy choice easier for those who need it – make fresh fruits and vegetables cheaper to purchase than energy and calorie dense (sugary) foods.
- Make sure that everyone has equal access to safe and affordable healthcare
- Finance the fight against NCDs – make NCD prevention a part of the Health Budget
- Increase the access of NCD treatment to people suffering from NCDs
- Support NCD friendly activities – have a healthy eating and physical activity policies in-house
- Make physical activity an easier choice – provide incentives for physical activity and avenues for physical activity.
- Initiate Private Public Partnerships to fight against NCDs
- Private Sectors, in particular the food and beverage industry, need to think about the community and review the products that are being manufactured, processed or sold to the community – how can you make your products healthier…remember the backlash is loss of productivity that could easily affect your organization.
NCDs are rising in the world and they have the greatest impact on our families. What happens to families? The impact on families are devastating – this includes the loss of family members; most times these members who die or have debilitations from NCDs are bread winners – fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters…. we need to start realizing that the loss of loved ones can be minimized by simple steps such as exercising and eating the right foods. NCDs create widows and orphans. NCDs lead to a loss of income and poverty. Individuals are affected; Children and families are affected: communities and societies are affected; and ultimately nations and the world is affected by the Killer NCD.
Lets make a stand and SAY NO to NCDS…Lets work to ether to create a healthy environment where our children our future are nurtured in body and mind, where the environment supports healthy choices, and where people work and age with dignity.
Yanuca Island Declaration, 1995.
World Health Organization. (2011). Lets Unite in the Fight against NCDs – presentation slides.
World Health Organization Database.