Non-communicable diseases

Last update: April 2021 | Next update: December 2024

Non-communicable diseases are critically important for adolescents now and in the future

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, are non-transmissible diseases of often long duration. Examples of NCDs include mental health conditions, stroke, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease. Globally, it is estimated that one in two disability-affected life years and one in five deaths among adolescents are caused by NCDs. As NCDs are driven primarily by behaviors that often start during childhood and adolescence including physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol, they have the potential to impact child and adolescent health and bring about negative health outcomes in adulthood. Estimates suggest that approximately 70 per cent of the premature deaths that occur among adults stem from health-related behaviors that originate in childhood and adolescence.