THE World Health Organisation (WHO) said that strategies to mobilise support beyond the health sector will be needed to address some of these issues related to non-communicable diseases.
Speaking at a meeting in Hong Kong of the WHO’s regional committee for the Western Pacific, Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said causes of non-communicable diseases lay mostly outside the health sector.
Issues that need urgent attention include the marketing of food to children; limiting salt, sugar and fat in mass manufactured foods; restarting the availability and promotion of tobacco and alcohol, and urban design that promotes physical activity.
Chronic diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, have overtaken communicable diseases as the leading health burden in the Western Pacific region, accounting for almost eight out of 10 deaths.
Of the estimated 26,500 people in the region who die every day from non-communicable diseases, 20,000 come from developing countries.
High on the list of common risk factors are tobacco use, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and the harmful use of alcohol.