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Update on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease, account for over 63% of deaths around the world and 9 million occur in people under age 60. In September, 2011, global leaders met at the United Nations in New York City to set a new international agenda for the prevention and control of NCDs.

This historic UN Summit on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) brought together over 30 Heads of State, Ministers of Health, and other policy makers and resulted in the adoption of a Political Declaration on NCDs. This was only the second such declaration of its kind to address a health issue on a global scale. In December, 2013, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) reported to the UN Secretary-General on progress since September, 2011 toward the prevention, control, and monitoring of NCDs. 

A Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs, 2013-2020 was published by WHO in 2013. This document provides a road map and articulates policy options to promote coordinated and coherent action aimed at attaining nine voluntary global targets, including a 25% relative reduction in premature mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases by 2025. The action plan also addresses four behavioral risk factors: tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol.

A 2014-2015 proposed work plan, Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases, was presented by the WHO Director-General in May, 2014.

The WHO also maintains up-to-date, country-by-country statistics on NCDs. These show age-standardized death rates and the percentages of total deaths due to specific NCDs, as well as premature deaths due to NICDs, the prevalence of risk factors, and levels of national response. See Noncommunicable Diseases Country Profiles 2014.

For more information on WHO objectives and working groups, see the WHO Global Coordination Mechanism on the Prevention and Control of NCDs.