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Non-communicable diseases

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.

Health Benefits of exercise

Physical Activity has positive effects on mental health, and promotes lung health and musculoskeletal health throughout life. It also reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, certain cancers and memory disorders, and has an important role in management of chronic conditions and weight control.

It's medically proven that people who do regular Physical Activity have:

  • up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • a 30% lower risk of early death
  • up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
  • up to a 30% lower risk of depression
  • up to a 30% lower risk of dementia

Exercise and Guidelines

The European Society of Cardiology recommends for healthy adults of all ages to perform at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous intensity Physical Activity.

According to WHO adults aged 18–64 should perform at least 150 min/week (five times 30 minutes) of moderate activity or 75 min/week (three times 20 minutes) of vigorous aerobic physical activity.

Exercise and Obesity

Physical Activity is a vital component of prevention and management of obesity, which leads to weight loss as long as the energy expenditure is greater than the calories consume. Thirty minutes of moderate activity is recommended for most, if not all, days of the week for obese patients.

Resistance exercise has significant role which may reduce the risk of obesity, especially obesity characterized by higher body fat percentage.

Resistance exercise was associated with a reduced risk of obesity defined by body mass index, waist circumference, and percent body fat, although the strongest relationships between resistance exercise and obesity were consistently observed for obesity defined by percent body fat.

A combination of exercise with a healthy reduced-calorie diet is the best for greater outcomes.

  • eat a balanced calorie-controlled diet as recommended by a General Practitioner or weight loss management health professional (such as a dietitian)
  • take up activities such as fast walking, jogging, swimming or tennis for 150 to 300 minutes (2.5 to 5 hours) a week
  • eat slowly and avoid situations where you know you could be tempted to overeat

Exercise and Cardiovascular diseases

Physical Activity benefits on cardiorespiratory health are extensively well known. Regular aerobic exercise decreases all-cause mortality in patients with cardiovascular diseases, improves lipid profile and decreases blood pressure levels. In addition, the benefits of exercise in increasing are noticeable and protect against arterial stiffness.

In order to reduce the risk of getting coronary heart disease is required some simple lifestyle changes:

  • eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • being physically active
  • giving up smoking
  • controlling blood cholesterol and sugar levels



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