According to Medical News Today on Tuesday, health leaders from across the Americas have agreed a pledge to cut the number of deaths caused by non-communicable diseases by 25% by the year 2025.
The action plan has been agreed by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). This is a regional body of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the world's oldest international public health organization, working with all the countries of the Americas to improve health and quality of life.
The organization says a common thread runs through the four leading non-communicable diseases:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic respiratory disease
Common risk factors:
- Tobacco use
- Unhealthy diet
- Physical inactivity
- Excess alcohol
Health statistics published by PAHO show that there are 242,000 deaths from diabetes every year across the Americas and that 13% of all deaths are due to ischemic heart diseases. In 2010, nearly three quarters of all deaths had non-communicable causes and 58% of people dying were aged under 70 years.
The following list of objectives has been set for all the health authorities signed up to the Pan American Health Organization's plan:
- Involve sectors beyond health to promote the prevention of non-communicable diseases, including agriculture, trade, education, labor, finance, the environment, transport and urban development
- Provide universal access to health services for non-communicable diseases
- Reduce tobacco consumption and exposure to second-hand smoke by 30% by the year 2025
- Reduce the impact on children of marketing and advertising of unhealthy foods and sugar-sweetened beverages
- Promote active lifestyles through policies that reduce physical inactivity in adults and adolescents
- Improve access to essential medicines and technologies for detecting, diagnosing, treating and controlling non-communicable diseases and for rehabilitation and palliative care
- Improve surveillance of non-communicable diseases and their risk factors and strengthen research to improve interventions and evaluation of policies and programs.
PAHO says the poorest people bear the greatest burden of these preventable diseases - 30% of cardiovascular premature deaths happen among the poorest 20%, compared with only 13% among the wealthiest 20%.
Emily Sutherlin is also the Pregnancy Examiner.
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