The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), a regional body of the World Health Organization (WHO), has made an ambitious goal—to cut deaths from non-communicable diseases by 25% by the year 2025. In a promising statement of holistic health and prevention, the body said the top 4 causes of death in the Americas are preventable and have the same risk factors.
Addressing the top four killers—cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and chronic respiratory disease—will take a concentrated effort. By identifying the risk factors, the PAHO is signaling their possible effort to prevent the diseases rather than simply mask them with Big Pharma solutions that do little but prolong the agony.
The PAHO identified the following common risk factors among the four diseases:
- Unhealthy diet
- Lack of physical activity
- Excess alcohol
- Tobacco use
Just how are they going to cut one-fourth of the deaths caused by these diseases in a little more than a decade? The PAHO has set out a list of objectives, most of them focused on prevention.
Read: America’s Health Lags Behind – Blame the Food!
- Promote active lifestyles among adults and adolescents alike
- Reduce tobacco consumption and exposure to second-hand smoke
- Reduce the influence of marketing and advertising of unhealthy foods to children
- Involve additional sectors in the charge, including agriculture, trade, finance, labor, etc.
- Provide access to health services
- Improve access to medicines and technology for diagnosing and treating the diseases
- Improve monitoring of the diseases and risk factors in order to improve interventions
PAHO recognizes that these diseases are blamed for millions of lives each year. In the Americas, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease are faulted in about 75% of deaths—that’s 4.45 million each year. In fact, one other report shows that America has the highest rate of “death from all causes” than 16 other developed nations. We must be doing something wrong.
And the poor seem to be hit the hardest.
“The World Health Organization’s 2011 report on non-communicable diseases, profiling all the countries of the world, adds to this picture, showing that low-income and low-to-middle-income countries have the highest proportion of deaths under the age of 60 years from largely preventable non-communicable diseases, accounting for 41% of deaths – three times the proportion in high-income countries.”
If PAHO’s efforts are able to reach beyond the wall protecting large food corporations and Big Pharma, we could see some progress from their efforts. If, however, they continue to shield these companies from accountability for their role in causing and dragging out these diseases, we will likely see more of the same tragedy in early, preventable death by noncommunicable diseases.
It’s time to include some natural alternatives to our healthcare repertoire.