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Health & Consumer Voice - October - 2011 Edition

Commissioner Dalli delivers first EU statement at UN General Assembly

On 19-20 September, government officials and top health experts met at the General Assembly of the United Nations’ (UN GA) high-level meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases in New York. This was the second time in history of UN GA that health was addressed after the meeting on AIDS in 2001. The EU was represented by Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli, and by Director-General for Health and Consumers, Paola Testori-Coggi.

“NCDs” - short for non-infectious but chronic diseases such as cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular and certain respiratory diseases – are the leading cause of mortality in the world, being responsible for 86% of deaths in the EU each year and 63% of deaths worldwide. The political declaration adopted at the UN meeting is an important step towards a co-ordinated global response to address the problem.

Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli, delivers the EU statement at the UN’s high level meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (Source: UN Press Service)

In what was the first opportunity of the kind, Commissioner Dalli delivered the EU statement on behalf of the EU Member States at the UN GA.

“NCDs’ heavy impact on people’s health, as well on economic development, requires efficient co-ordinated action at global level”, said Commissioner Dalli. “This worrying trend can be reversed through action on the risk factors influencing these diseases - such as smoking, poor diet and insufficient physical activity (…) The EU is determined to take forward the declaration in partnership with the global community”.

Commissioner Dalli will outline his vision of the link between the Commission’s work on alcohol related harm, diet and physical activity at the upcoming meetings of the European Alcohol and Health Forum (October) and the Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health (November).

2011 global deaths by risk factor
Tobacco use: 6 million
Insufficient physical activity: 3.2 million
Harmful use of alcohol: 2.3 million
Unhealthy diet: 1.7 million
Source: World Health Organisation: Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2010

To learn more about the UN’s High-level meeting on NCDs and read the political declaration, see:
http://www.un.org/en/ga/president/66/Issues/NCD/ncdindex.shtml