A strategy to prevent chronic disease in Europe. A focus on public health action. The CINDI vision




Chronic diseases place an enormous health and economic burden on the population of all Member States of the WHO European Region. Evidence shows that major chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and diabetes result from a few lifestyle related behaviours. These behaviours - unhealthy diet, reduced physical activity, tobacco use and alcohol abuse - lead to obesity and hypertension and to abnormalities in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism.

Although evidence is growing that these diseases can be prevented, many European Member States lack a national policy, and therefore do not take the action needed to control and prevent chronic diseases.

In 2002, at its fifty-second session, the Regional Committee formally proposed that the WHO Regional Office for Europe should develop an innovative and flexible evidence-based chronic disease prevention and control strategy. The CINDI (Countrywide Noncommunicable Disease Intervention) Programme is in a unique position to provide leadership in supporting this action because of its experience in policy and programme development, evaluation and monitoring, and capacity building in integrated chronic disease prevention in more than half of Member States of the Region and in Canada and in supporting such developments in other regions. The proposed strategic framework needs to be adapted to the individual national situations and to the capacities of the countries’ health systems to be able to have an effect throughout the Region.