The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) defines Non-communicable diseases are “diseases that are not spread through infection or through other people, but are typically caused by unhealthy behaviours. They are the leading cause of death worldwide and present a huge threat to health and development, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.”
Yet these diseases are are preventable with modifiable behaviour – with 80% of heart diseases, strokes, type 2 diabetes and over one third of cancers can be prevented by: cutting out tobacco, eating a healthy diet, being physically active and stopping harmful use of alcohol. This is also one of the reason that we teach Baking as Lifestyle Medicine (BALM) – our approach to baking, eating and sharing bread is about preventative healthcare. There are many ways that our BALM Protocol supports health, but whole-grain foods are well documented as reducing the risk of NCD’ such as heart disease, and bowel cancer.
Poverty & NSDs
Poverty is also closely linked with NCDs. The rapid rise in NCDs is predicted to slow poverty reduction initiatives in many low-income countries. Diet and lifestyle impact outcome vulnerable and socially disadvantaged people get sicker and die sooner than people of higher social positions. Lower social economic groups they are at greater risk of being exposed to harmful products, such as tobacco, or unhealthy dietary practices, and have limited access to health services. A large body of epidemiologic data show that diet quality also follows this socioeconomic gradient. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at social class as a predictor or diet quality and concluded that ” Higher-quality diets are associated with greater affluence, energy-dense diets that are nutrient-poor are preferentially consumed by persons of lower socioeconomic status and of more limited economic means.” you can download the PDF here.
Metabolic risk factors
Metabolic risk factors contribute to four key metabolic changes that increase the risk of NCDs:
- raised blood pressure;
- hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels); and
- hyperlipidemia (high levels of fat in the blood).
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are now the leading causes of death and disability globally, with The U.S. Government and Global Non-Communicable Disease Efforts report stating that NCD’s are” killing more than three in five people worldwide NCD’s are responsible for more than half of the global burden of disease. Though NCDs are often associated with older people, 15 million deaths caused by NCDs each year occur before the age of 70 (“premature deaths”)”
It goes on to say that ” Without significant efforts to address the key risk factors and underlying social determinants driving NCDs, the economic and social toll of burgeoning numbers of people affected by NCDs in developing countries will continue to grow, exacting not just an emotional suffering cost but also an economic cost. People are less productive, they work for fewer years, and die prematurely. If the upward trend of NCDs continues this is estimated to cause a cumulative loss of output of $47 trillion between 2011 and 2030″
- Cardiovascular / Heart disease.
- Chronic respiratory diseases
- Crohn’s Disease
- Chronic lung disease.
- Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Mental health ailments
Table 1: NCDs now accounts for Most Global Deaths from NCDs from The U.S. Government and Global Non-Communicable Disease Efforts
NCDs cause more than two-thirds (71%, around 41 million) of all annual deaths
|CVDs, the number one cause of death globally (mainly from coronary heart disease and stroke), can be mostly prevented by addressing risk factors; these include tobacco use, unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity, and diabetes.|
|With lung, stomach, liver, colon, and breast cancer causing most cancer deaths, behavioral and dietary risks include high body mass index, lack of physical activity, low fruit/vegetable intake, and tobacco and alcohol use. Viral infections (e.g., Hepatitis B and C viruses; Human papillomavirus) are also causes of cancer.|
|Chronic respiratory diseases
|These are chronic diseases of the airways and other structures of the lung; among the most common are asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, an incurable, life-threatening lung disease that interferes with normal breathing). COPD is caused primarily by tobacco smoke (firsthand use or secondhand smoke).|
|A chronic disease that occurs when the body cannot effectively regulate blood sugar, uncontrolled diabetes can lead to death as a consequence of high fasting blood sugar. Addressing risk factors (e.g., healthy diet, physical activity, normal body weight) can help prevent or delay onset of adult-onset diabetes (type 2).|