What are noncommunicable diseases?

Noncommunicable diseases – a group of conditions that includes cardiovascular diseases, cancer, mental health problems, diabetes mellitus, chronic respiratory disease and musculoskeletal conditions – cause 86% of deaths and 77% of the disease burden in the WHO European Region. These disorders are largely preventable and are linked by common risk factors, underlying determinants and opportunities for intervention. A more equitable share of the benefits from effective interventions would bring significant health and economic gain to all Member States.


WHO/Europe promotes a comprehensive approach to tackling noncommunicable diseases that simultaneously:


  • promotes population-level health promotion and disease prevention programmes;
  • actively targets groups and individuals at high risk, and maximizes population coverage of effective treatment and care; and
  • systematically integrates policy and action to reduce inequalities in health.


This approach requires integrated action on risk factors and their underlying determinants across sectors, combined with strengthening health systems to improve prevention and control.