NCD Global Status Report 2014
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In 2012, an estimated 3.3 million deaths, or 5.9 % of all deaths worldwide, were attributable to alcohol consumption. More than half of these deaths resulted from NCDs.

Implementing very cost-eff ective population-based policy options – such as the use of taxation to regulate demand for alcoholic beverages, restriction of availability of alcoholic beverages, and bans or comprehensive restrictions on alcohol advertising – are key to reducing the harmful use of alcohol and attaining this target.

New NCD report:

Number of premature and avoidable NCD deaths on the rise

World Health Organization (WHO) has released a new Global Status Report on Nonommunicable Diseases (NCDs). The report states that most premature NCD deaths are preventable. Of the 38 million lives lost to NCDs in 2012, 16 million or 42% were premature and avoidable – up from 14.6 million in 2000.

The increasing burden from NCDs was the topic of a UN High Level Meeting in 2011 where world leaders agreed on a roadmap of concrete commitments to address the global burden of NCDs, including a commitment to establish multisectoral action plans and policies for the prevention and control of NCDs.

The four main categories of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, which share four modifiable behavioural risk factors: Tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and the harmful use of alcohol. The toll from NCDs is increasing, reaching 16 million people dying prematurely in 2012 – before the age of 70.

The new report calls for more action to be taken to curb the epidemic, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, where deaths due to NCDs are overtaking those from infectious diseases. Almost three quarters of all NCD deaths (28 million), and 82% of the 16 million premature deaths, occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Alcohol is one of the risk factors for NCDs featured in the report. WHO points out that In 2012, an estimated 5.9% (3.3 million) of all deaths worldwide and 5.1% of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) were attributable to alcohol consumption. More than half of these deaths resulted from NCDs.

There are cost-effective policy options to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. They include pricing policies, reduced availability and marketing of alcohol, improved response by health services, and drink-driving policies and countermeasures. Increasing numbers of countries have developed or reformulated their national alcohol policies and action plans. Of 76 countries with a written national policy on alcohol, 52 have taken steps to operationalize it.