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WHO World Health Assembly adopts global strategy on diet, physical activity and health
The World Health Organization (WHO) Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health was endorsed by Member States at their annual Health Assembly in Geneva on May 2004. The strategy addresses two of the major risk factors responsible for the heavy and growing burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), which now account for some 60 per cent of global deaths and almost half (47 per cent) of the global burden of disease. NCDs include cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers and obesity-related conditions.
“This is a landmark achievement in global public health policy and provides our Member States with a powerful instrument, which will enable them to develop effective and integrated national strategies to reduce the human and socioeconomic costs of non-communicable diseases”, said Dr Lee Jong-wook, Director-General, WHO. “The burden of death, illness and disability caused by noncommunicable diseases is now greatest in developing countries, where those affected are on average younger than in the developed world”.
WHO has developed the strategy over the past two years through a wide-ranging series of consultations with all concerned stakeholders, including Member States, other UN agencies, civil society and nongovernmental organisations, and the private sector. The strategy specifies roles for these stakeholders in reducing NCDs. The strategy emphasizes the need to limit the consumption of saturated fats and trans fatty acids, salt and sugars, and to increase consumption of fruit and vegetables and levels of physical activity. It also addresses the role of prevention in health services; food and agriculture policies; fiscal policies; surveillance systems; regulatory policies; consumer education and communication including marketing, health claims and nutrition labelling; and school policies as they affect food and physical activity choices.