Integrated Prevention of Non–Communicable Diseases
Joint statement to the 113th meeting of the Executive Board of the World Health Organization, Geneva, 19–24 January 2004.
Mr Chairman, honourable members of the Executive Board, Director–General, Regional Directors, ladies and gentlemen.
This statement is made jointly by the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) on behalf of the International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO), the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the World Heart Federation (WHF), the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS) and the International Pediatric Association (IPA).
As NGOs collaborating closely with the WHO in the prevention of chronic non–communicable diseases, we have an important stake in this discussion. We wish to express our clear commitment to the proposals before you and take this opportunity to pay tribute to all those WHO staff who have worked with dedication on this difficult task.
The need for this strategy was never more urgent. A major global epidemic of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, overweight and obesity, affects both the developing and developed world. It is driven by inappropriate diet and inactivity. The problem begins in the earliest days of childhood reflecting the critical importance of good in utero nutrition, extended breastfeeding and sound nutritional practices in infancy onwards in the prevention of long term diet–related non–communicable diseases.
Children are increasingly vulnerable to the inadequacies of diet and activity now resulting in high levels of obesity, the unprecedented development of type 2 diabetes and exposure to cardiovascular risks from an early age. In this respect I would mention that the IOTF, as part of its WHO collaboration programme, will today submit for consideration by the Director General and his advisers a comprehensive assessment of the best available evidence of the global challenge of childhood obesity.
Already the need for the global strategy has been reinforced by not one, but a succession of major reports that provide irrefutable evidence for action.
The WHO 797 report, Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases, informed the International Conference on Nutrition in 1992 and its World Declaration and Plan of Action for Nutrition, which, incidentally, was endorsed by a resolution of World Health Assembly in 1993.