Action on social determinants of health is essential to tackle noncommunicable diseases

Kumanan Rasanathan & Rüdiger Krech
Department of Ethics, Equity, Trade and Human Rights, World Health Organization, Geneva , Switzerland.

Bulletin of the World Health Organization October 2011

Available online at:

“…..Noncommunicable diseases cannot be effectively addressed without action on social determinants of health. Without addressing social inequalities and the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, along with the reasons that health systems work better for some population groups than for others – that is, adopting a social determinants approach – prospects for reversing the noncommunicable diseases epidemics are poor..”

Brazil calls for pact on social factors to improve health

As host of the World Conference on Social Determinants of Health on 19–21 October 2011, Brazil has shown its commitment to tackling social factors to improve people’s health and well-being. Minister of Health Alexandre Padilha talks to the WHO Bulletin about what his country has done in this respect and his hopes for the conference…

Saúde urbana, ambiente e Desigualdades


Saúde urbana, ambiente e Desigualdades

PAHO/WHO self-instructional course on social determinants of health

PAHO/WHO self-instructional course on social determinants of health in English, Spanish, and Portugues 

Return on Investment Mental Health Promotion and Mental Illness Prevention

Canadian Policy Network at the University of Western Ontario
Canadian Institute for Health Information. CIHI 2011

Available online PDF file [76p.] at:

“….Mental health issues will be among the leading causes of disability in Canada by 2030, yet there is limited information about the costs of interventions for mental illness prevention and mental health promotion.
This scoping study found that there is research showing a return on investment for some mental health promotion/illness prevention interventions. The strongest evidence was for interventions targeting children and youth (such as those that focus on conduct disorders, depression, parenting, and suicide awareness and prevention), while the weakest evidence was from the workplace sector….”

Global Atlas on cardiovascular disease prevention and control

CVDs Joint Publication of the World Health Organization the World Heart Federation Organization

Available online PDF [164p] at:

Lives Cut Short: New Report Reveals Divide between Rich and Poor Countries for Premature Cardiovascular Disease Deaths

Data provides a wake-up call for governments and individuals to take action against heart disease and stroke

Intersectorial Plan for obesity prevention and control: Promoting healthy lifestyles and healthy eating for Brazilian people

Obesity is a multifactor disease and its determination is associated to biological,historical, ecological, economical, social, cultural and political aspects. Its impact is directly observed on the health sector, burdening the Health System. However to face the problem it is imperative the mobilization and commitment of various sectors of
A recent national research shows that about 50% of the population in Brazil is overweight, and about 15% is obese. Each year there is an average increase of 1% overweight and obesity in adults. And the increase is more expressive among the most vulnerable families.

FROM: Technical Committee of the Interministerial of Food and Nutrition Security Chamber in Brazil.

Coutinho, Sra. Janine Giuberti (BRA) – Codina, Dr. Luis F. (BRA)

Segregated Spaces, Risky Places: The Effects of Racial Segregation on Health Inequalities

Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies –September 2011
Available online PDF [44p.] at:

“……..Place matters for health. Research by the Joint Center and others has consistently shown that neighborhood characteristics, often referred to as social determinants of health, such as the quality of schools, access to quality health care and nutritious foods, and exposure to environmental hazards, have a significant impact on how long one lives. Residents of neighborhoods that have poor and underfunded schools, limited access to quality health care and nutritious foods, and high levels of exposure to environmental hazards will, on average, live substantially shorter lives than residents of neighborhoods that don’t suffer from these characteristics.

Governance for health in the 21st century

a study conducted for the WHO Regional Office for Europe

WHO regional Office for Europe – August 2011

Available online at:

“………Mind-sets on how we view and address health and its determinants have shifted. Two challenges go hand in hand: (1) the governance of the health system and health systems strengthening, which are what we refer to as ‘health governance’; and (2) the joint action of health and non-health sectors, of the public and private sectors and of citizens for a common interest in what we call ‘governance for health’. The latter is the subject of this study.

Living in a ‘knowledge society’ means that power and authority are no longer concentrated in government. Informed citizens, conscientious businesses, independent agencies and expert bodies increasingly have a role to play. Nevertheless, governments and health ministries continue to be important in managing governance for health, setting norms, providing evidence and ‘making the healthier choice the easier choice’.

The Global Economic Burden of Non-communicable Diseases

A report by the World Economic Forum and the Harvard School of Public Health
September 2011

Available online PDF [48p.] at:

“……As policy-makers search for ways to reduce poverty and income inequality, and to achieve sustainable income growth, they are being encouraged to focus on an emerging challenge to health, well-being and development: non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

After all, 63% of all deaths worldwide currently stem from NCDs – chiefly cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. These deaths are distributed widely among the world’s population – from high income to low-income countries and from young to old (about one-quarter of all NCD deaths occur below the age of 60, amounting to approximately 9 million deaths per year). NCDs have a large impact, undercutting productivity and boosting healthcare outlays. Moreover, the number of people affected by NCDs is expected to rise substantially in the coming decades, reflecting an ageing and increasing global population.