Last week I was in Moscow, Russia – watching history in the making. It was the first time the World Health Organization (WHO) has ever invited non-government groups to discuss an issue at an officially sanctioned meeting (typically WHO discussions are limited to representatives of member nations); and the topic was focused on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the prevention of chronic or lifestyle disease.
The WHO has determined four areas of emphasis in this fight:
- elimination of tobacco use,
- increase in physical activity,
- a healthy diet (specifically less salt, less fat, less sugar), and,
- avoidance of the harmful use of alcohol.
If all the population of the world would achieve even part of these important lifestyle changes, there would be a huge reduction in premature death from heart disease, stroke and cancer!
There is convincing evidence that premature death from NCDs is the epidemic of the future–and it has begun today. This problem is not limited only to highly developed countries. Obesity and diabetes are huge problems even in developing countries. In fact, in most countries today there are more premature deaths from NCDs than from traditional communicable diseases.
One of the Moscow attendees put it this way: NCDs are a problem of the poor in the economically advantaged countries and of the wealthy in the developing countries.
The first time I visited Russia, almost 20 years ago, there was only one McDonald’s in Moscow, and there were long lines to get in. Last week it seemed like the golden arches were on almost every corner. Fast food was available on every street corner, all high in salt, fat, and sugar — and all increasing the risk of NCDs!
Here at PositiveChoices.com, we fully support WHO’s goals. The whole purpose of this website is to provide information and motivation toward good health choices. Each of us can make a difference by the daily choices we make.
How about you? Are you making PositiveChoices each day to reduce your risk of NCDs?