In response to the growing evidence that the combination of COVID-19 and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) leads to more serious disease outcomes, including death, the WHO Regional Director for Europe has introduced an initiative to dramatically accelerate the response to NCDs and their risk factors across the WHO European Region. The newly established Advisory Council on Innovation for Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD Advisory Council) will inspire action to reach the NCD-related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).

The major NCD burden is linked to 4 types of diseases: cardiovascular diseases (such as coronary heart disease and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes. Poor diets, insufficient physical activity, and the consumption of alcohol and tobacco products push the risk of developing NCDs even higher.

This context is completely aligned with the objectives of the YOUNG50 project which focuses also in affecting cardiovascular risk factors, divided into two groups:

  • behavioural risk factors (diet, low physical activity, smoking, alcohol use)

  • medical risk factors (high systolic blood pressure, high total cholesterol, high fasting plasma glucose, and high body mass index (BMI)

Members of the NCD Advisory Council include high-level implementers, leading experts and clinical practitioners from governments, academia, think tanks, and professional and civil society organizations. They will combine their disciplines, expertise and experience to reshape the prevention and management of NCDs in the Region.

In particular, the key functions of the NCD Advisory Council, whose work is anchored in the European Programme of Work, 2020–2025 – “United Action for Better Health in Europe” (EPW), are to:

  • provide advice for innovative approaches to reduce the prevalence of NCDs in the WHO European Region

  • recommend specific ways to strengthen collaboration with relevant sectors, partners and stakeholders

  • provide a forum for sharing policy and technical experience and knowledge

  • provide guidance and support to WHO/Europe in shaping the future architecture of the NCD political agenda at European, national and subnational levels


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