19 Sep 2011

Tackling Pacific NCDs on UN agenda

7:04 am on 19 September 2011

Health issues in the Pacific will be raised at this week's United Nations General Assembly as it plans to tackle rising death rates from non-communicable diseases.

The Assistant Director-General at the World Health Organisation, Dr Ala Alwan, says NCDs are influenced by modifiable risk factors - tobacco, diet, obesity, alcohol and lack of exercise.

He says lifestyle diseases are the leading causes of death globally and this meeting is a milestone for public health and development.

"WHO estimates that there will be a seventeen per cent increase in mortality from these diseases over the coming ten years. And the fastest increase will be seen in developing populations mainly in Africa, the Middle East, South East Asia and the Western Pacific Region."

Dr Alwan says despite challenges, there is now a road map to curb the soaring death toll that claimed 36 million lives in 2008.