/ to read the articles.     

To stop NCDs, the global community must focus on prevention strategies in adolescence.

By Helen Seibel, Global Community Investment, AstraZeneca

YHP_ZambiaTo stop NCDs, the global community must focus on prevention strategies in adolescence.

Noncommunicable Diseases have emerged to become the number one cause of death worldwide – and many of them are preventable. The World Health Organisation calls this trend an “invisible epidemic.” Should it continue, the economic toll on evolving health systems is predicted to amount to trillions of dollars.[1]

To change this trajectory, we need to increase our attention on two things:  disease prevention and youth.

Today, a quarter of the world’s population is under the age of 30. And in low to middle-income countries, youth can make up to 50% of the population. .[2] The decisions they make today will have a profound impact on our world’s future.

We can empower young people to have a transformative effect on their own health—and on the global economy—by helping them make healthier choices. That’s because two out of every three premature NCD deaths in adults are associated with conditions or behaviors that began in youth—such as smoking, unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle.[3]

Fortunately, the science is promising.

Quitting smoking for just one year during youth increases the likelihood of long-term smoking abstinence to 67%.[4] By the same token, 70% of obese adolescents remain obese throughout their adult lives, while people who are fit in their 20s are more likely to stay fit throughout adulthood.

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However, investment in prevention is often lacking – typically only a fraction (1 – 2%) of budget is spent on NCDs and we know that is often focused on treatment.

AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme contributes to this growing body of knowledge with new research and partnerships that nurture good behaviours and healthy lifestyle choices for adolescents. Our commitment to the science of adolescent health is just one part of how we are working to enable longer, more fulfilling lives while and avoiding the staggering costs associated with NCDs.

By empowering youth to make healthy choices today, we can prevent NCDs tomorrow.  Investing in prevention, building adolescent-friendly programming and fine-tuning protective policy needs to be a central part of the solution.

[1] WHO 2015a

[2] https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/488865

 [4] If yes, can we link to this on YHP? https://www.younghealthprogrammeyhp.com/updates/turning-the-tide-on-ncds-at-the-71st-world-health-assembly.html

 

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