Combatting Noncommunicable Disease Risk Factors in Youth

PRB produced a global interactive database and a series of regional policy reports and data sheets that highlight the importance of taking action now to address noncommunicable disease (NCD) risk factors among youth.

AstraZeneca Young Health Programme

The Challenge

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic respiratory diseases have become the world’s leading causes of death, accounting for 70% of all deaths globally in 2015. Compared to high-income countries, NCDs in lower-income countries generally claim lives at younger ages, often at the peak of individuals’ economic productivity. NCDs pose a significant threat to the health and well-being of populations, economic growth, and sustainable development, especially in low- and middle-income countries, underscoring the importance of prioritizing their prevention.

Our Approach

The four main NCDs share four risk factors: tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diet. These risk factors are all modifiable behaviors typically initiated or established during adolescence or young adulthood, setting the stage for NCDs later in life. Preventing or reducing risk behaviors among youth today can minimize the future burden of the growing NCD epidemic. Under this project, PRB created products that underscore the opportunity that low- and middle-income countries have to curb rising NCD epidemics. PRB also conducted policy communication training for youth advocates working on this health issue, and journalist training to improve the quantity and quality of reporting on the matter.