Physical inactivity is 1 of 4 risk factors that contributes to 80% of all noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), according to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO). The other 3 risk factors are tobacco use, the harmful use of alcohol, and poor diets.
NCDs killed 63% of people who died worldwide in 2008. Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, or 17 million people annually, followed by cancer (7.6 million), respiratory disease (4.2 million), and diabetes (1.3 million). Most of these deaths, almost 80%, occurred in low- and middle-income countries, dispelling the myth that such conditions are mainly a problem of affluent societies, says WHO.
Global Status Report on Noncommunicable Diseases 2010 reviews the current status of noncommunicable diseases and provides a road map for reversing the epidemic by strengthening national and global monitoring and surveillance, scaling up the implementation of evidence-based measures to reduce risk factors such as physical inactivity, tobacco use, unhealthy diet, and harmful alcohol use, and improving access to cost-effective health care interventions to prevent complications, disabilities, and premature death. According to WHO, this report, and subsequent editions, will provide a baseline for future monitoring of trends and for assessing the progress member states are making to address the epidemic.