World Leaders Commit To Tackling NCDs At UN Summit

World Leaders Commit To Tackling NCDs At UN Summit

Thu 22 Sep 2011

Story by The Food Revolution Team

In the run up to the UN NCD Summit earlier this week we’ve been talking about Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) – these are commonly diet related and include cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Whilst NCDs cause 60% of global deaths each year*, they are largely preventable and following Jamie’s plea for everyone to call on their heads of state to attend the UN NCD Summit during his One Young World speech we’ve been raising awareness on the health and economic burden of NCDs and supporting this important Summit.

Before the summit commenced Jamie wrote to Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations urging him to make a difference at this high level meeting.

“One in ten people in the world are obese. It’s affecting our kids – 42 million are overweight before they even reach school age, and most of those beautiful children will be suffering from the early stages of heart disease and diabetes by the time they reach adulthood… People still don’t realize that the problem is not just limited to rich countries, that worldwide being obese or overweight now causes more deaths than under-nutrition. It’s convenient for everyone to think that it’s just America which has the biggest problem.” Jamie Oliver

Ban Ki-moon also answered a question from Jamie during a live UN Webcast on social media, agreeing that over 35 million people dying from NCD’s every year is “totally unacceptable” and that NCDs “can be prevented by simply changing your lifestyle” hence why the focus of this high level meeting was NCDs and their prevention and control.

During the UN NCD press conference Dr Ala Alwan, the Assistant Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) talked about the summit, recognizing that it was a very important milestone in public health and development being the second ever UN general assembly meeting to address an emerging health issue with a socio-economic impact.

Discussing NCDs, Jamie filmed an urgent video asking for people all across the world to join the Food Revolution and help get countries and global leaders to work together and improve education & legislation in order to reduce the number of deaths from NCDs and obesity related diseases.

34 heads of state attended the summit and unanimously adopted the Political Declaration on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), agreeing that “the global burden and threat of NCDs constitutes one of the major challenges for development in the twenty-first century, which undermines social and economic development throughout the world”.

The approved political declaration calls for an agenda by the end of 2012 to take action on reducing and preventing NCDs. The World Health Organization has been tasked with monitoring and preparing the recommended goals. This is a huge step in the right direction and as Jamie says, “people embrace knowledge”, so governments and leaders now armed with this knowledge on the importance of addressing NCDs must deliver on their commitment to tackling them. However, until a real budget and measurable targets are set we won’t be able to know how successful this meeting has been. We hope to be able to report further information as we learn more on the outcomes of this summit and plans begin to emerge.

We must keep the focus on NCDs and make sure that over the next year meaningful steps are made. Working with The NCD Alliance we will feed through their approach and in the meantime we can continue to raise awareness of NCDs and ensure that tackling them remains a top priority. You can follow the latest news on NCDs and the UN Summit through social media, if you are using twitter then remember to use and follow the hash tag #NCDs to keep the conversation going, you can also Tweet your Head of State to make sure they keep focused on NCDs. Click Here for a list of Heads of States Twitter handles and Facebook pages compiled by the Global Health Council.

The summit was a good first step, now we must ensure that the next steps guarantee NCDs stay on governments agendas to curb diet-related disease and global obesity before we have an even bigger problem on our hands to pass on to the next generation.

The Food Revolution Team

* Worldwide, NCDs account for 60% (35 million) of global deaths

Images: Bottom right image of the summit taken from The NCD Alliance | Top right image taken from New York youth rally for NCDs on Sunday (From Tweet: PhilBakerNZ @jamieoliver: Photos frm YOUTH RALLY for #NCDs at #UNsummit, this morn. Huge energy, passion, outrage #foodrevolution

Jamie’s Plea To The UN In The Press:

Huffington Post: Jamie Oliver Pens Open Letter About Obesity Crisis To UN Secretary General
CNN: Jamie Oliver rallies United Nations for aid in his anti-obesity campaign
Telegraph: Jamie Oliver takes children's diets bid to UN
Washington Post: Doubts raised for UN progress at disease summit
The Stir: Jamie Oliver's Latest School Lunch Stunt Involves an Unlikely Ally
Daily Mail: Jamie Oliver takes his battle against the world obesity crisis all the way to the UN
Eater: Jamie Oliver Lectures the United Nations on Obesity Crisis

UN Webcasts From The Summit:
Round table 1 – High-Level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases - 19 September 2011
Round table 2 - High-Level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases 19 September 2011
Round table 3: High-Level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) 20 September 2011


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