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The first Global Week for Action on NCDs – from Monday 3 September to Sunday 9 September 2018 – is a global opportunity to talk about non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and what needs to change to improve people’s health. The week is launched in light of the ENOUGH campaign initiated by the NCD Alliance, building up to the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs on 27 September in New York.

NCDs in the EU


of all diseases in Europe are NCDs [1]

people between the age of 25 and 64 died from NCDs in the EU in 2013 [2]

spent by EU Countries to treat NCDs every year [3]

One Action Per Day

There are 4 main risk factors to NCDs: smoking, harmful alcohol use, unhealthy diet and low physical activity. Air pollution is also a leading contributor to NCDs.

The European Chronic Disease Alliance (ECDA) and European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) highlight One effective action each day during the week per risk factor.

Soda Tax Works

“There is reasonable and increasing evidence that appropriately designed taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages would result in proportional reductions in consumption, especially if aimed at raising the retail price by 20% or more.”

World Health Organization (2016), Fiscal Policies for Diet and Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases.

Further reading:

World Cancer Research Fund International (2018), Building momentum: lessons on implementing a robust sugar sweetened beverage tax.

Zhong et al. (2018) The Short-Term Impacts of the Philadelphia Beverage Tax on Beverage Consumption. American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol Saves Lives

“There is strong international evidence that tackling price – as part of a package of measures, including education and diversion – can help reduce alcohol consumption and related harm.[…] Research into differing price policy options concluded that a minimum unit price is the most effective.”

Scottish Government. Minimum Unit Pricing.

Further reading:

Institute of Alcohol Studies, minimum unit pricing

Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), Why Price Matters, Alcohol Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP)

Tobacco taxation: the cost-effective solution

“Despite their potential, taxes on sugar, tobacco, and alcohol are underused by policy makers. The 2017 WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic showed that only 10% of the world’s population is covered by sufficiently high levels of tobacco taxation.”

Sugar, Tobacco, and Alcohol Taxes (STAX) Group (2018) Sugar, tobacco, and alcohol taxes to achieve the SDGs. Comment. The Lancet.

Further reading:

World Health Organization (2016), Earmarked Tobacco Taxes: lessons learnt from nine countries

World Health Organization (2014), Raising Tax on Tobacco: what you need to know

Chaloupka et al. (2012) Tobacco taxes as a tobacco control strategy. Review. Tobacco Control BMJ.

United Nations Development Programme, Taxes on Tobacco

Better urban planning to get everyone moving

“The built environment has consistently been shown to affect the level of physical activity among the population; thus, there is much scope to use the setting of the city to increase opportunities for physical activity.


Well-planned walkable neighbourhoods, affordable housing and services with access to plenty of green and public space, as well as multimodal public transit options, will make a significant contribution not only to attainment of health goals but also to a more balanced and equitable urban development”

World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (2017) Towards more physical activity: Transforming public spaces to promote physical activity — a key contributor to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Europe (2017).

Further reading:

The Royal College of Chiropractors (RCC). Infographic. Physical activity: Get in the Habit!

Audrey & Battista-Ferrer (2015) Healthy urban environments for children and young people: A systematic review of intervention studies. Health & Place.

Kopcakova et al. (2017) Is a Perceived Activity-Friendly Environment Associated with More Physical Activity and Fewer Screen-Based Activities in Adolescents? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health.

Ip et al. (2017) Childhood Obesity and Physical Activity-Friendly School Environments. The Journal of Pediatrics.

Nieuwenhuijsen and Khreis (2016) Car free cities: Pathway to healthy urban living. Environment International.

Rojas-Rueda et al. (2016) Health Impacts of Active Transportation in Europe. PLOS One.

No future for diesel in cities

“Nine per cent of the EU-28 urban population lived in areas with concentrations above the annual EU limit value and the WHO Air Quality Guidelines for NOx (Oxides of nitrogen) in 2015”. “The proportion of NO2 in vehicle exhaust is considerably higher in diesel vehicles than in petrol” […].

European Environment Agency (EEA). Air quality in Europe — 2017 report. No 13/2017.

Further reading:

The Lancet (2016), The end of diesel-powered cars?

Johnson et al. (2017) Impact of excess NOx emissions from diesel cars on air quality, public health and eutrophication in Europe.

Environmental Research Letters

Dey et al. (2018) Potential Health and Economic Benefits of Banning Diesel Traffic in Dublin, Ireland. Journal of Transport & Health

The International Council on Clean Transportation, by Anenberg et al. (2017) Impacts and Mitigation of Excess Diesel NOx Emissions in 11 Major Vehicle Markets

Transport & Environment (2018) How to get rid of dirty diesels on city roads – analysis.

J E Jonson, J. B.-K. (2017). Impact of excess NOx emissions from diesel cars on air quality, public health and eutrophication in Europe. Environmental Research Letters(12).

Further Reading:

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