Noncommunicable diseases and their risk factors

GCM/NCD launches new Community of Practice on NCDs and Commercial Determinants of Health


27 November – The WHO GCM/NCD has launched a new Community of Practice on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) and Commercial Determinants of Health (CDoH). These virtual discussions bring together experts to develop knowledge, share best practices and country case studies on the focused thematic area of NCD prevention and control.

GCM/NCD launch new online community-driven platform to address the growing global non-communicable disease (NCD) epidemic

22 November 2018 - The WHO continues to promote collaborative approaches to address noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) with the launch of a new community-driven platform for NCD information, interaction, and inspiration.

The General Meeting of the WHO Global Coordination Mechanism on Noncommunicable Diseases (GCM/NCD)

The General Meeting of the GCM/NCD took place on the 5 - 6 of November, 2018, bringing together more than 300 Participants and 90 Member States represented. The meeting concluded with a statement from the co-chairs of the meeting Switzerland and Sri Lanka which can be accessed here.

Heads of State commit to lead response to beat noncommunicable diseases, promote mental health

Image from the Walk The Talk event outside the UN building in Geneva, May 2018.

27 September 2018 -- Heads of state and government today committed to 13 new steps to tackle noncommunicable diseases including cancers, heart and lung diseases, stroke, and diabetes, and to promote mental health and well-being. They agreed to take responsibility themselves for their countries’ effort to prevent and treat NCDs and that these efforts should include robust laws and fiscal measures to protect people from tobacco, unhealthy foods, and other harmful products, for example by restricting alcohol advertising, banning smoking, and taxing sugary drinks.

WHO Director-General reappoints Michael R. Bloomberg as WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries

Michael R. Bloomberg and Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during the United Nations General Assembly in New York, September 2018.
WHO/B Hartschuh

27 September 2018 - Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, has renewed the appointment of Michael R. Bloomberg as WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and Injuries, as world leaders meet at the United Nations in New York to agree steps to better address NCDs, the world’s biggest killers. During his second term as Global Ambassador, Michael R. Bloomberg will continue to support global, national, and local efforts to protect people from NCDs and injuries.

What are noncommunicable diseases and their risk factors?

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease, are collectively responsible for almost 70% of all deaths worldwide. Almost three quarters of all NCD deaths, and 82% of the 16 million people who died prematurely, or before reaching 70 years of age, occur in low- and middle-income countries. The rise of NCDs has been driven by primarily four major risk factors: tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets.

Explore WHO’s work on preventing, managing and coordinating action to prevent and control NCDs through this website.

Prevention of noncommunicable diseases

Reducing the major risk factors for noncommunicable diseases – tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and the harmful use of alcohol – is the focus of WHO’s Department for the Prevention of NCDs.

Management of noncommunicable diseases

NCDs – including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes – kill 38 million people every year. Prevention of NCDs is important. However, investing in better management is the other key component of the NCD response.

Surveillance of noncommunicable diseases

Public health monitoring or surveillance activities comprise the regular collection of health information in terms of health indicators, the routinely analysis of indicators over time, place and between population groups, sharing of available scientific knowledge as well as the regular dissemination of results.

Recent highlights

  • July 2018

    UN Interactive Hearing on NCDs

    The President of the UN General Assembly, with the support of WHO, organized and presided over an interactive hearing which took place on 5 July 2017 in New York as part of the preparatory process for the third High-level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of NCDs. As not all participants were able to deliver their statements during the hearing the statements have been gathered on this web page to ensure all voices are heard.

  • July 2018

    ECOSOC 2018 Task Force resolution urges partners to mobilize resources for the work of the Task Force

    Ahead of the Third United Nations High-level Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs), the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has demonstrated its commitment to supporting Member States in reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by adopting a resolution that recognizes the work and achievements of the United Nations Interagency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases (UNIATF) and the need for greater resources to be made available for the prevention and control of NCDs.

  • June 2018

    Global action plan on physical activity 2018 - 2030

    WHO has developed a new global action plan to help countries scale up policy actions to promote physical activity. It responds to the requests by countries for updated guidance, and a framework of effective and feasible policy actions to increase physical activity at all levels. The plan sets out four objectives and recommends 20 policy actions that are applicable to all countries and address the cultural, environmental and individual determinants of inactivity.

  • June 2018

    New Commission urges world leaders to step up fight on chronic diseases to save 15 million lives

    Despite the many proven interventions and commitments to combat NCDs, progress has been slow and uneven globally. The WHO Independent High-level Commission on NCDs was convened by the WHO Director-General in October 2017 to advise him on how countries can accelerate progress. The Commission’s report includes six key recommendations.

  • May 2018

    WHA71 Informal Breakfast

    As part of the World Health Organization’s 71st World Health Assembly (WHA71), the Global Coordination Mechanism on noncommunicable diseases (GCM/NCD) held its third annual breakfast for GCM/NCD Participants.