Prevent or control non-communicable diseases (NCDs) or lifestyle-related ailments

By Danny O. Calleja

The Department of Health’s (DOH) regional Center for Health and Development (CHD) for Bicol has reiterated earlier advisories to observe healthy celebrations of the Yuletide to prevent or control non-communicable diseases (NCDs) or lifestyle-related ailments.

“Prepare healthy food, including vegetables and fruits for media noche and noche buena, make sure to eat moderately when attending festivities and avoid fatty and salty foods for a healthy heart,” was among the tips aired on Friday by Health regional director Nestor Santiago here.

The health advisory came as experts said poorer countries that include the Philippines are more susceptible to NCDs making lifestyle-related ailments like cancers, diabetes, and chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases not of affluence but of poverty.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NCDs are the leading cause of deaths worldwide. In 2008, of the 57 million deaths, 36 million people died due to NCDs. Deaths were attributed to cardiovascular diseases posting 48 percent; cancers, 21 percent; chronic respiratory diseases 12 percent and; diabetes, three percent.

The WHO global status report (GSR) on NCDs for 2011 revealed that poorer countries are more susceptible to NCDs. High-income countries have 13 percent prevalence, upper-middle-income countries have 25 percent, while lower-middle-income countries like the Philippines have 28 percent.

Low-income countries have 41 percent prevalence of premature deaths among citizens below 60 years of age which is three times higher than the proportion of the high-income countries, the GSR added.

Dr. Antonio Dans, professor at the College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila (UPM) in a statement reaching here over the week stressed that NCDs are not diseases of affluence but diseases of poverty.

He said Southeast Asia is facing the epidemic of chronic non-communicable diseases and based on 2008 figures, 60 percent of all deaths in the region are attributed to NCDs.

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