Public Health Institute Calls on United Nations to Set World on Path to Prevent and Treat Non-Communicable Diseases

Sep 19, 2011, 07:05 ET from Public Health Institute

OAKLAND, Calif., Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On the opening day of the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), the Public Health Institute (PHI) calls on the world body to adopt a visionary statement that acknowledges the growing global problem of NCDs and provides a roadmap for preventing and treating them.

PHI urges High-Level Meeting participants to consider strengthening the global response:

  • Acknowledge the special risks women face for NCDs and design appropriate mechanisms to assess those risks and prevent and treat NCDs in women. In today's world, three women are obese for every two obese men.
  • Redouble efforts to measure the risk of NCDs to adolescents and children, prevent them from becoming ill and determine the best treatments. In 2008, NCDs caused more than 837,500 deaths in young people under age 15.
  • Study the ways that improving the environment and climate would benefit population health, using the available capacity of UN climate and health agencies. For example, a RAND Health report found that more than 15,000 hospital admissions and emergency room visits due to asthma could be avoided each year if California observed federal clean air standards.

Worldwide, NCDs cause almost two-thirds of all deaths and are responsible for more deaths than all other causes put together. The main NCDs – cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and diabetes – affect people throughout the world and in every age group, but 80 percent of NCD deaths occur in developing countries.

"This meeting is a historic opportunity for the UN to chart a way forward to prevent NCDs," said Mary A. Pittman, DrPH, PHI president and CEO. "As we know from more than 45 years of experience, some of the answers to preventing or detecting these illnesses early are within our grasp, such as a nutritious diet, physical exercise and screenings for hypertension and diabetes. We must also work on the more complex causes of these illnesses, including the underlying conditions that contribute to them."

About the Public Health Institute
PHI, an independent nonprofit organization based in Oakland, California, is dedicated to promoting health, well-being and quality of life for people throughout California, across the nation and around the world. PHI's primary methods for achieving these goals include: sharing evidence developed through quality research and evaluation; providing training and technical assistance; and promoting successful prevention strategies to policymakers, communities and individuals.

SOURCE Public Health Institute