Disease prevention and health promotion at global level

Alcohol, smoking, a lack of exercise and poor diet are the main causes of chronic diseases, both in Switzerland and worldwide. In this area, Switzerland’s activities are aligned with WHO’s global and European action plans.

Main categories and causes of non-communicable diseases

According to WHO, non-communicable diseases, notably cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and respiratory diseases, are the leading cause of death worldwide. Some 36 million people die prematurely of such diseases every year. The main causes include the harmful use of alcohol, smoking, a lack of exercise and a diet too high in fat, sugar and salt.

UN recognition and WHO action plan

Since 2011, the UN has recognised non-communicable diseases “as a global burden and threat, and one of the biggest challenges for development in the 21st century.”  Within WHO, non-communicable diseases and their causes are addressed by the WHO Global action plan for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.  This plan tackles both prevention and treatment, and sets forth objectives to achieve a world “free of the avoidable burden of non-communicable diseases”.

Last modification 19.07.2018

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Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Prevention of non-communicable diseases Division
Schwarzenburgstrasse 157
3003 Bern
Tel. +41 58 463 88 24

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