A tobacco-free world by 2040? The NCD Alliance favors it.

Calls Grow Louder to Address Non-Communicable Diseases

Advocates for the You're the Cure campaign lobbied Congress April 12 for more funding targeting heart disease and stroke. The Lancet's NCD Action Group and the NCD Alliance published a statement calling for a tobacco-free world by 2040.

Public health organizations around the world are pushing harder for funding and programs that address non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease and stroke. Smoking is the prime target, but the organizations also are focused on healthy diets, prevention, and international cooperation, even though it may be difficult worldwide to secure higher funding.

The American Heart Association's You're the Cure campaign sent advocates to Capitol Hill on April 12 to urge Congress to provide more funding targeting heart disease and stroke. AHA called on supporters to send 14,000 e-mailed pleas to Congress backing the effort before the delegation arrived and said at least 12,000 had been sent. The messages asked members of Congress to:

1) appropriate $35 billion in the 2012 budget for the National Institutes of Health

2) co-sponsor the FIT Kids Act (H.R. 1057 and S. 576) as a tool to combat childhood obesity and promote physical education during the school day

3) support the Safe Routes to Schools program at current funding levels ($183 million a year) in the next transportation bill, saying the program creates opportunities for daily physical activity and improved health for children

At the same time, The Lancet's NCD Action Group and the NCD Alliance published a statement calling for an essentially tobacco-free world by 2040. They backed priority interventions -- tobacco control, salt reduction, improved diets and physical activity, reduction in hazardous alcohol intake, and essential drugs and technologies -- that will cost about $9 billion per year. The alliance targets cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease because they share common solutions and also common risk factors (such a tobacco use, physical inactivity, and poor diets).

Joseph Deiss, current president of the United Nations General Assembly, has called an informal hearing on non-communicable diseases for June 16 for representatives from many organizations. The meeting is part of the preparation for the General Assembly's Sept. 19-20, 2011, meeting on Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases.

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