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Of Chronic Diseases and Healthy Lifestyle

Posted Feb 19 2009 5:31pm

• Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are the top leading killer disease worldwide. Almost 60% of deaths are attributed to the major chronic diseases with 43% global burden of the disease. Around 80% deaths (35M) occurred in developing countries.

• The threat is growing with increasing number of people, families and communities afflicted with chronic diseases. The four most prominent chronic diseases are: cardiovascular disease (CVD),cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and diabetes.

• The major cause affecting the lives of the people are linked by the common and preventable biological risk factors notably high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and overweight and by related major behavioral risk factors: unhealthy diet and nutrition, physical inactivity, tobacco and alcohol use.

• Studies had shown globally:
- 4.9 M people die as a result of tobacco use
- 1.9 million die as a result of physical inactivity
- 2.7 million people die as a result of low fruit and vegetable consumption
- 7.1 million die as a result of raised blood sugar
- 4.4 million die as a result of raised total cholesterol levels

• In Philippine Health Statistics, NCDs ranks the top most leading cause of mortality for more than five years. In 2003, FNRI studies showed :
- 60.5% are physically inactive
- 20% of adults are overweight, 5% are obese
- 22.5% are hypertensive
- 56% males and 12% females are current smokers

• The data showed alarming condition among children and adults. The trend of obesity is increasing among younger age groups ((9-11 year old) from 2.4% in 1993 to 4.8% in 2005.

• Similarly the prevalence rate of overweight for children 6-10 years old doubled from 0.8% in 2001 to 1.6% in 2005 (Phil. Nutrition Facts & Figures 2005). Numerous studies had shown that the tendency of an obese child remains to be obese in adulthood.

• For tobacco use, around 22% of teenagers are current smokers (Phil. Global Youth Tobacco Survey, 2007).

• About 2% of teenage students are overweight and 30% are physically inactive, spending three or more hours per day sitting and watching television, playing computer games, talking with friends or doing other sitting activities (Phil. Global School-Based Student Health Survey, 2007).

• The global and local situations are critical conditions that urge everyone attention for immediate action to prevent and control NCDs. The best strategies for the reduction of morbidity, mortality and prolonging quality of life are in the hands of dedicated health workers, politicians, partners (local government units, academe, professional groups, NGOs) whose vital role and support are crucial for the marginalized sector of society in the achievement of our goal. These are:

1. Health Promotion which could be done through advocacy by stakeholders for the general population to practice healthy lifestyle. Each stakeholder has specific roles to play, like educating the general public on healthy lifestyle, providing supportive and safe environment to practice healthy lifestyle (providing bicycle lanes, parks and walking lanes; establishing smoke-free public places as well as prohibiting the use of tobacco, alcohol and drug in schools, workplaces and other areas.)

2. Screening and Diagnosis of NCDs or providing affordable and accessible definitive diagnostic procedures/tests for early detection and diagnosis are essential in preventing and controlling NCDs. Examples are acetic acid wash, digital rectal exam, breast examination, smoking cessation counseling, etc.

3. Early Treatment/Rehabilitation provides possibilities for early recovery of patient afflicted with the disease or addiction (based on standard treatment protocol).

4. Palliative Care helps prolong the quality of life of patient afflicted with the disease.

• With these comprehensive approaches in managing NCDs, the country can reduce the morbidity and mortality by 2% (WHO goal) as well as prolong the quality of life of every Filipino afflicted with chronic diseases.

• Starting February 2009, the Department of Health is launching a revitalized and repackaged Healthy Lifestyle Advocacy Campaign called “HL TO THE MAX”.

• The 7 HEALTHY LIFESTYLE HABITS that each member of the family should practice are:

- No Smoking (Huwag Manigarilyo)
- Don’t Drink Alcohol (Iwas Alak)
- No to Illegal Drugs (Talo Ka sa Droga)
- Eat Low Fat, Low Salt, High Fiber Diet (Wastong Pagkain)
- Prevent Hypertension (Bantay Presyon)
- Do Physical Activity (Katawang Aktibo)
- Manage Stress (Bawas Stress)
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