NCD Alliance Organizations Preparing for September Summit

The American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, and American Cancer Society are working together as the UN Summit Partners Group to help reduce the worldwide death toll from non-communicable diseases.

The American Heart Association provided an update Tuesday on preparations for the September 2011 United Nations summit on non-communicable diseases that will take place in New York City. AHA CEO Nancy Brown said raising awareness about NCDs, including cardiovascular illnesses, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory conditions, is vital because these were estimated to cause more than 60 percent of deaths worldwide in 2005.

As a member of the UN Summit Partners Group, AHA works with the American Diabetes Association, American Cancer Society, the cancer advocacy group Livestrong, and the Framework Convention Alliance, a group of organizations promoting a public health treaty on tobacco control. AHA also is a strategic member of the NCD Alliance, which was formed in 2009 to reduce this problem. The alliance is a joint effort of the World Heart Federation, the International Diabetes Federation, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, and the Union for International Cancer Control -- organizations with nearly 900 member associations in more than 170 countries, according to AHA's news release.

"The American Heart Association is deeply concerned about the increasing number of individuals suffering and dying prematurely from cardiovascular diseases, including stroke," said Brown. "The global quest for a world free of this burden will require a multi-faceted approach from the public and private sectors if we are to combat the dramatic rise in risk factors for heart disease and stroke in developing countries. We strongly support the efforts of the alliance and will continue to work with our strategic partners to address this international health crisis."

Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory illness can be addressed because they share some risk factors -- notably tobacco use, alcohol abuse, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, and environmental carcinogens, according to UN Resolution 64/265, which the UN General Assembly voted unanimously last year to support and which called for the summit on non-communicable diseases to be convened in September 2011. AHA said the NCD Alliance "aims to maximize the summit's impact by compiling evidence about the urgency of the problem; acting as a global voice for member organizations and individuals with non-communicable illness; creating a roadmap for fighting the diseases, as well as means to share ideas and best practices; and working with governments, businesses and nongovernmental organizations to promote their common goals."

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