World Health Assembly Adopts New Targets

World Health Assembly Adopts New Targets

Tue 28 May 2013

Story by The Food Revolution Team

Earlier this week, at the 66th World Health Assembly which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, historic targets for the control and prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) were adopted.

NCDs, which are commonly diet related and include cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes, are largely preventable and treatable. Yet these diseases cause almost two in three deaths globally and could cost the world up to $47 trillion in productivity losses and medical treatments by 2030.

Back in May 2012 we reported that for the first time ever, targets were set at the 65th World Health Assembly to reduce the number of preventable deaths from NCDs by 25% by 2025. Since then Member States, NGOs and the World Health Organisation have been working hard to establish a global framework and action plan for this overarching goal.

On Monday, at the 66th WHA, Member States unanimously adopted and supported an omnibus resolution on NCDs, fully adopting this target to reduce preventable deaths from NCDs.

The key decisions in this resolution are:

To endorse the WHO global action plan for the prevention and control of NCDs 20132020;
To adopt the global monitoring framework on NCDs, including the 9 global targets and 25 indicators (some of which focus on diet, obesity and diabetes);
To develop a global coordination mechanism by the end of 2013 to coordinate activities and promote engagement of all actors in the global NCD response.

This historic move has set the foundation for faster global and national action to reduce preventable NCD deaths and save millions of lives across the globe.

Included in the 9 global targets are, a target to reduce average daily salt consumption by 30% by 2025 and targets to reduce inactivity and halt the rise in diabetes and obesity. The agreement also calls on governments to implement policies to reduce the consumption and marketing of food and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt to children.

A number of countries have already taken bold steps towards this overarching goal. Denmark, France, Hungary, Finland and Peru have all implemented taxes on certain foods high in saturated fat, salt and sugar, and other countries are trying to, or considering doing the same. South Africa set targets to reduce obesity and overweight by 10% and India has launched a 5 year plan to reduce NCDs. Find out more about what other countries have done here.

Stay tuned to find out more about the global coordination mechanism and what changes you can expect to see on a local level.

In the meantime, we want to know about the initiatives already in place in your community does your school provide food education to kids? Are there talks of removing sodas from hospitals or implementing taxes on soda or junk foods? Or has your community kick started a local anti-obesity or get fit campaign? Get in touch and email us at or post on our Food Revolution Community page!

The Food Revolution Team

Photo credit: WHO/Pierre Albouy


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