n South African Journal of Sports Medicine - Physical activity as a global risk factor for non-communicable diseases : time for action, what, why, when, who and how? : commentary

Volume 24, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1015-5163
  • E-ISSN: 2078-516X



Chronic, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) account for more than two-thirds of global mortality, at least 50% of which is preventable on the basis of modifiable lifestyle behaviours. In the wake of the UN Global Summit on NCDs, the World Health Organization produced a discussion paper that emphasised the need for a global monitoring framework and voluntary global targets for the prevention and control of NCDs.

The WHO discussion paper presents 10 suggested voluntary targets including the reduction in deaths due to NCDs, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, an overall reduction in blood pressure and obesity, as well as reduced smoking, alcohol and dietary salt intake, increased screening for cervical cancer and the elimination of trans-fats from the food supply. Physical activity is notable by its absence from this critical list of voluntary global targets for preventing and controlling NCDs.

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