Cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes… non-communicable diseases responsible for three quarters of global mortality

They are widely "invisible", according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, maternal, perinatal or nutrition-related mortality, trauma… these non-communicable diseases are responsible for 74% of deaths worldwide. Every 2 seconds, a person under the age of 70 dies because of one of them, a total of 17 million premature deaths each year.

On Wednesday 21 September, the UN organization published a report on "the true extent of non-communicable diseases and what needs to be done to combat them". This date owes nothing to chance: it coincides with the first meeting of the world group of Heads of State and Government on these diseases, at the General Assembly of the United Nations, in New York. A way, for the UN, to alert on the stakes of prevention.

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“Since the late 1980s, non-communicable diseases have become the leading cause of death worldwide”, recalls Philippe Amouyel, professor of public health at the University of Lille and at the Lille University Hospital. However, this change is "largely unnoticed"noted Bente Mikkelsen, director of the department of non-communicable diseases at the WHO, during a press conference on September 15.

"Preventable" diseases

The drivers of these diseases “are at once social, environmental, commercial and genetic. Their presence is global and unfortunately growingadded this Norwegian expert. Yet national and international funding for these diseases is minimal. It's a tragedy because [elles] are preventable and manageable through programs [de prévention] and cost-effective policies”.

A large part of mortality could, in fact, be avoided by acting on four risk factors: tobacco, junk food, excessive alcohol consumption and a sedentary lifestyle, to which should be added atmospheric pollution. “If every country adopted proven measures, at least 39 million deaths could be averted by 2030 and countless lives would be longer, healthier and happier”sums up the WHO.

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Are these action levers sufficiently activated? No, insists the WHO. In 2015, the United Nations adopted a set of Sustainable Development Goals; one of them aimed, by 2030, at a reduction of a third of the premature mortality due to these diseases. “Unfortunately, and this is what prompted the publication of this report, only a handful of countries are on track to achieve this goalexplained Leanne Riley, WHO technical officer for non-communicable diseases and author of the report. We need to accelerate progress. (…) We know what works and we need to encourage the adoption of these measures. »

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