Wellness Week will focus on raising awareness around the risk factors of killer Non-Communicable Diseases, and what we can do to moderate these risks.
A risk factor is any attribute, characteristic or exposure of an individual that increases the likelihood of developing a disease or injury.
As you may already know, you can become very vulnerable to killer NCDs if you are exposed to any of these four behavioral risk factors:
Very often, your body also shows you signs if you are exposed to increased risks for NCDs, such as:
They are also known as the biological risk factors.
What you may not be fully aware of, however, are environmental risk factors. They are closely associated with the conditions of the natural and built environment around us. These risk factors include:
- Carcinogens and pollutants (water, air, second-hand smoke)
- Limited access to healthy food (drinkable water, fresh fruit and vegetables)
- Unlimited access to inexpensive, non-nutritive unhealthy foods
- Urban design for an active living (walkable sidewalks, parks and plazas, access to comfortable and adequate public transportation, safe streets)
- Lack of housing, buildings and schools favorable for active living, accessibility to water, fresh food and transportation
- Closed and open spaces free of tobacco smoke
Too many to handle? Here’s the good news: They are all modifiable risk factors, meaning that the risk for killer NCDs can be reduced and even prevented. All it takes on your side is the commitment to leading a healthier lifestyle and to advocating for a healthier environment.
Additionally, to stop the ongoing epidemiology of chronic diseases, we have to unite in the fight against NCDs. We need to come together to make a social “wave” across all sectors to create and maintain a healthy built and natural environment in which we all live and work.
This is also one of the key messages from the upcoming UN high-level meeting, and we know it won’t happen without your support. Therefore, we encourage you to think about things you can do to fight NCDs beyond the individual level, such as:
- Let your voice be heard — Petition to your leaders and urge them to attend the high-level meeting and address NCD issues through improved public policies
- Let your efforts be seen – Engage yourself in group healthy activities or public programs for health and environment, including rallies, walks, marathons, bicycling programs, etc.
Last but not least, you will have an opportunity to get together with other NCD fighters to tackle all the NCD risk factors in Wellness Week, September 16 and 21, 2011.
- If you will be in NYC during that time, we challenge you to mark your calendar for Wellness Week and participate in as many events and activities as you can;
- If you won’t make it to NYC then, we challenge you to organize or take part in similar activities in your local community, and share pictures and videos on our Facebook page.
Will you take the challenge?