Priority actions for the non-communicable disease crisis

Robert Beaglehole*, Ruth Bonita, Richard Horton, Cary Adams, George Alleyne, Perviz Asaria, Vanessa Baugh, Henk Bekedam, Nils Billo, Sally Casswell, Michele Cecchini, Ruth Colagiuri, Stephen Colagiuri, Tea Collins, Shah Ebrahim, Michael Engelgau, Gauden Galea, Thomas Gaziano, Robert Geneau, Andy HainesJames Hospedales, Prabhat Jha, Ann Keeling, Stephen Leeder, Paul Lincoln, Martin McKee, Judith MacKay, Roger Magnusson, Rob Moodie, Modi Mwatsama, Sania Nishtar, Bo Norrving, David Patterson, Peter Piot, Johanna Ralston, Manju Rani, K. Srinath Reddy, Franco Sassi, Nick Sheron, David Stuckler, Il Suh, Julie Torode, Cherian Varghese, Judith Watt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

1162 Citations (Scopus)


The UN High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in September, 2011, is an unprecedented opportunity to create a sustained global movement against premature death and preventable morbidity and disability from NCDs, mainly heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease. The increasing global crisis in NCDs is a barrier to development goals including poverty reduction, health equity, economic stability, and human security. The Lancet NCD Action Group and the NCD Alliance propose five overarching priority actions for the response to the crisis - leadership, prevention, treatment, international cooperation, and monitoring and accountability - and the delivery of five priority interventions - tobacco control, salt reduction, improved diets and physical activity, reduction in hazardous alcohol intake, and essential drugs and technologies. The priority interventions were chosen for their health effects, cost-effectiveness, low costs of implementation, and political and financial feasibility. The most urgent and immediate priority is tobacco control. We propose as a goal for 2040, a world essentially free from tobacco where less than 5 of people use tobacco. Implementation of the priority interventions, at an estimated global commitment of about US$9 billion per year, will bring enormous benefits to social and economic development and to the health sector. If widely adopted, these interventions will achieve the global goal of reducing NCD death rates by 2 per year, averting tens of millions of premature deaths in this decade.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1438-1447
Number of pages10
JournalThe Lancet
Issue number9775
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
PA has received grants from Wellcome Trust Clinical PhD Fellowship. SE has received grants from the Wellcome Trust, and royalties from McGraw Hill for editing a book. RH is the editor of The Lancet. TG has received consultancy payments from Family Health International and Inter-American Development Bank; and payment for lectures, including lectures on speakers bureaus, from Network for Continuing Medical Education. BN has received consultancy payments from Bayer, payment for lectures including service on speakers bureaus from Allergan, and royalties for a book published by Karolinska University Press. BN's institute has received money for consultancy from Syngis, Servier, Bayer, Photothera, and Boehringer-Ingelheim. JT has received or has grants pending from Corporate Partners, Pfizer, Wiley, Sanofi-Aventis, Varian Medical Systems, Roche, Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis, Slender, Merck, Eli Lilly, Heng Rui, and Irmet. The other authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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