A non-communicable disease (NCD) is a chronic illness that is not contagious, usually of long duration, progresses slowly, and is typically a result of genetics, environment, or poor lifestyle. NCDs- mainly cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes - are the main causes of deaths worldwide.
Based on the predictions from the World Health Organisation (WHO), NCDs will account for over 70% of all deaths globally by 2025, with most of them being preventable. The WHO predict that globally, NCD deaths will increase by 17% over the next 10 years, with the most considerable increase being in low-resourced countries.
Today, approximately one third of the European Union (EU) population aged 15 and over, and nearly a quarter of the working age population lives with a chronic disease. More than half a million people under the age of 65 die of NCDs in the EU each year.
As a result, the WHO recommends the implementation of physical activity (PA) as an effective strategy to prevent the NCDs. Physical activity is one of the most basic human functions. A life-course approach to physical activity is essential for better health outcomes. Furthermore, physical activity is a key determinant for the management of chronic conditions.
Depression, diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, unhealthy diet, smoking, physical inactivity and excess alcohol consumption have been identified by the WHO Global Health Observatory data as common and preventable risk factors that underlie most NCDs.
Physical activity reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes. It can also improve musculoskeletal health, control body weight and reduce symptoms of depression.