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Public health, non-communicable diseases and prevention. EUPHA compared with WHO

EUPHA (European Public Health Conference) presented in Berlin, on 9.11.22, an analysis on public health, non-communicable diseases (NCDs, Non-Communicable Diseases), prevention and monitoring.

The scenario and the strategies to be pursued were shared by EUPHA with the representatives of the WHO Advisory Council (World Health Organization) on innovation for noncommunicable diseases.

1) Public health in Europe. Premise

'Strengthen health systemsimprove the health of the population e getting ready to the unexpected ' it's title and incipits of the 15th annual conference of EUPHA extension, the confederation established in 1992 to represent in the EU a series of civil society associations and the medical-scientific community.

The pandemic experience showed the fragility of health systems, as well as the need to strengthen cooperation and invest in research. The interaction between public health and the environment, animal health, food security e food safety – in two words, One Health - are moreover full-blown.

2) Health policies, the 6 guiding criteria

Health policies European Unions must be based on 6 guide-criteria that respond to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the UN Agenda 2030, in addition to the logic applied to the common good.

  1. Rebuild better, for a safer and fairer society. Addressing the full range of health determinants encompassing social, commercial and political elements.
  2. Equality, equity and efficiency. The UN General Assembly has adopted a special one resolution on universal health coverage (2019), target 3.8 in #SDG3 (Ensure Health and Well-being).
  3. Investing in health systems to ensure its solidity and resilience, so as not to have to subject health workers to new sacrifices as has recently happened.
  4. Ensuring quality research, independent and free from conflicts of interest we add, making sure its results reach policy makers.
  5. Invest in research and collaboration between the public and private sectors. By binding public investments to public sharing of results, we add.
  6. Networking, sharing knowledge also between different disciplines, between research and politics, between the health of patients and their caregivers. (1)

3) Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs)

Non-communicable diseases today they represent 90% of the causes of premature mortality. WHO defines how Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) long-term chronic diseases resulting from a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioral factors. 80% of the deaths attributed to them come from cancer, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes.

Prevent many deaths it is possible, with multifactorial interventions that include lifestyle changes (eg diet, alcohol, smoking) and medicinal therapies. And it is important, as we could avoid diseases that today kill 1 in 5 men and 1 in 10 women under the age of 70. Poverty is a further variable that affects both the level of risk and the possibilities for treatment.

4) NCDs, the WHO global action plan

Il WHO Global Action Plan on tackling NCDs was ratified by its member states in 2013, together with the roadmap of with the health goals to be achieved in subsequent years. In view of the reduction of mortality for the main NCDs in adults between 30 and 70 years, by 30%, by 2030. EUPHA and WHO, at the Berlin Conference, focused on some crucial elements.

Reduce alcohol consumption

The alcohol is one of the worst drugs circulating in Europe, whose population soars in its consumption on a planetary level.

WHO points to purpose taxation as an effective strategy to reduce the consumption of alcoholic beverages. With the aim of reducing the mortality associated with alcohol consumption by 25%, in 2030, compared to 2013.

Reduce childhood obesity

Childhood obesity, which also continues into adulthood, has reached epidemic levels in the Old Continent as seen. And it is a serious risk factor for contracting other non-communicable diseases.

Diseases related to being overweight they represent 5-7% of the costs that European healthcare systems face. The WHO goal is to control or reduce the increase in overweight in at least 15 countries by 2030.

Reduce hypertension

Hypertension in 2019 it was the cause of 24% of deaths due to cardiovascular disease and one was noted correspondence between high rates of hypertension and salt consumption.

To reduce the incidence of this disease it is necessary to strengthen the basic health service and adopt effective strategies to reduce the consumption of salt, such as the label NutriScore.

Sharing of data

Share reliable data, accurate, timely and relevant collected and harmonized across the European Union is essential to better manage and control NCDs.

Avoid advertising unhealthy products

The consumption of unhealthy products such as salt, sugar, alcohol and tobacco increases when they are advertised.

Children, still invested by advertising e marketing aggressive junk food and alcoholic beverages, must be protected with appropriate measures.

To reduce the pollution

They are estimated at 7 million in the world, 550 thousand in Europe, the premature deaths every year due to pollution. Member States must be supported in the development of sustainable transport.

È necessario in particular ensure the safety of urban transport on foot and by bicycle. So as to reduce emissions into the atmosphere, noise, accidents as well promote physical activity. (2)

Alessandra Mei and Dario Dongo


(1) https://ephconference.eu/berlin-statement-2022-502

(2) https://ephconference.eu/repository/conference/2022/Pre-conferences/WHO%20NCD%20Advisory%20Council%20Concept_Note_.pdf

Alessandra Mei
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Graduated in Law from the University of Bologna, she attended the Master in Food Law at the same University. You participate in the WIISE srl benefit team by dedicating yourself to European and international research and innovation projects.

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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