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Asian Countries Need to Address Growing Disease Risks Among Youth

Thursday, July 21, 2016 Menīs Health News J E 4
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Tobacco and alcohol use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity emerging as top disease risk factors among Asian youth

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Asia has a window of opportunity to curb a rising epidemic of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) by tackling key risk factors among Asian young people, according to new research from the Population Reference Bureau (PRB).

PRB, a global nonprofit that analyzes public health issues, notes that NCDs are the leading causes of death globally and in most countries in Asia, and are among the top public health challenges of the 21st century.

Asia is facing a growing epidemic of the four main NCDs—cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases. These share four key risk factors: tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diet.

The four risk factors are all modifiable behaviors that are typically initiated or established during adolescence or young adulthood and set the stage for NCDs later in life. Young people in some Asian countries already have high levels of multiple risk factors, and these are likely to rise further in the absence of action.

The report, Addressing Non Communicable Disease Risk Factors Among Young People: Asia's Window of Opportunity to Curb a Growing Epidemic, recommends strengthening regulations governing the food industry such as setting maximum salt, sugar or saturated fat content in food products, food labelling, and taxes on soda.

The report, by PRB senior research associate Toshiko Kaneda and PRB senior policy analyst Reshma Naik, urges the creation of safe public spaces and infrastructure for sports, active transport, and other forms of physical activity; the introduction of effective school-based interventions on diet and physical activity; and involving young people, families, schools, and communities in addressing the issue of physical inactivity and unhealthy eating.

This package of publications, supported by the AstraZeneca Young Health Programme (YHP), includes a policy report, data sheet, and comprehensive data appendix that highlight the importance of taking action now to address NCD risk factors among young people in Asia.

The Population Reference Bureau (www.prb.org) informs people around the world about population, health, and the environment, and empowers them to use that information to advance the well-being of current and future generations.

PRB Contact: Peter Goldstein: 1.202.939.5407; pgoldstein@prb.org 

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