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Governments Need To Change Mindset About Non-Communicable Diseases, ‘Modest Actions’ Can Make Impact

Bloomberg View: Small Steps Can Save Millions of Lives
Michael R. Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City and founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News

“For the first time in human history, more people around the world are dying from noncommunicable diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, than communicable ones, such as malaria and polio. This change occurred in higher-income countries at some point in the middle of the last century. In lower-income countries, the shift is just a few years old. The way we think about mortality, however, has not kept up with this new reality. We tend to accept these deaths as unavoidable. They’re not. Changing this false perception is critically important to saving millions of lives across the globe. … [W]e know that with modest actions, governments can reduce the likelihood that their citizens will fall victim to nearly every category of disease and injury. … In each of these areas [– data collection, tobacco control, obesity prevention, and road safety –] the return on investment will be enormous, because many of the best solutions require relatively small sums — often to support grassroots organizing and advocacy campaigns. And even better, many require no money at all — just for government leaders to change their mindset” (5/31).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.