Non-Communicable Diseases Top Concern of World Medical Association's New President

Dr. Cecil B. Wilson, who was the American Medical Association's president in 2010-2011, also identified ethics in medicine and the threat of climate change as major challenges facing the world and the medical profession.

Speaking in Bangkok Oct. 12 after taking over as president of the World Medical Association, Winter Park, Fla. internist Dr. Cecil B. Wilson identified non-communicable diseases, ethics in medicine, and the threat of climate change as three major challenges facing the world and the medical profession. Wilson, who was the American Medical Association's president in 2010-2011, spoke at WMA's annual general assembly as he began a one-year term.

He mentioned non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and chronic lung disease, saying they are now the leading cause of death in both the developed and developing regions of the world and are expected to increase in frequency, even though they are largely preventable.

"Developing countries face the triple burden of infectious disease, trauma, and chronic disease. The causes of non-communicable diseases are smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, and alcohol abuse -- all lifestyle behaviors. The primary solution is disease prevention," Wilson said, according to a report about his speech posted on the WMA website.

The American Medical Association's current president, Dr. Jeremy A. Lazarus, attended the general assembly and wished Wilson well in a blog post dated Oct. 12. Wilson "served the AMA with class and distinction during his tenure," Lazarus wrote. "He's an expert in health policy matters, and he has a unique gift to put people at ease — which is always a plus in leadership positions. His knowledge, character and temperament make him a perfect fit for his new post as WMA president."

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