U.N. Meeting On NCDs Concludes With Pledges To Fight Chronic Diseases

World leaders on Tuesday “pledged to take wide-ranging action to prevent millions of deaths from cancer, diabetes, and heart and lung disease by tackling the key causes — smoking, excessive drinking, lack of exercise and unhealthy diets dominated by fast food,” but the “declaration approved at the first-ever General Assembly meeting on chronic diseases which ended Tuesday left unanswered the question of coordinating an international response to what the leaders called ‘a challenge of epidemic proportions,'” the Associated Press/CBS News reports.

In the document, leaders pledged to implement strategies to reduce tobacco and alcohol use, promote healthy diets and physical activity, encourage increased access to affordable cancer screening, medicine and other technology, and marshal sustained funding sources, according to the news agency (9/21). The U.N. News Centre notes that “[t]he overall annual death toll from NCDs is estimated at 36 million worldwide, which means it comprises more than 60 percent of the broader total of 57 million” (9/20). The Financial Times published an interactive map showing risk factors for and percentage of deaths caused by NCDs (Cadman et al., 9/20).