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  • Lauri Beekmann

Norway on track to cut premature deaths from non-communicable diseases by one-third by 2030

11.12.2022 - The proportion of people aged 30-69 dying prematurely from non-communicable diseases has decreased by 17% between 2015-2021. The largest decrease is seen in deaths from cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Norway has committed to the UN and WHO goal of reducing premature death from non-communicable diseases by 33% by 2030 for those aged 30-69. The non-communicable diseases included in this goal are cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and cancer. Mental illness and musculoskeletal disorders are other non-communicable diseases that we also focus on.

National collaboration is important for tracking the development of non-communicable diseases and factors that affect them. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health leads a national collaboration that works on both national surveillance and research and health analysis to extract these figures.

On the right track

"The latest measurements from 2021 show that we are on the right track. The question is whether this development applies to all groups in society. Therefore, we need to follow the development, with a special focus on gender differences, social inequality and inequality for groups with minority backgrounds, and have a holistic approach to prevention," stresses researcher Inger Ariansen from the National Institute of Public Health.

Tobacco, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity and unhealthy diets are common risk factors for cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and COPD.

Should do more on physical activity and obesity

"Targets are also set for the development of factors affecting non-infectious diseases. We are on the right track for most of these targets except for physical inactivity and obesity. We are not approaching the goal of halting the increase in the proportion of people who are insufficiently physically active and who are obese.

The overall mortality rate in the age group 30-69 has been steadily declining (see graph), but now there is an indication that the curve is leveling off. It is therefore extra important to follow the development in 2022," emphasizes Ariansen.

Has the pandemic affected public health?

It takes time to develop non-communicable diseases, so it is still too early to say whether covid-19 affects these diseases. However, we know that people with COPD, diabetes, heart and vascular diseases, and cancer have an increased risk of becoming seriously ill with covid-19.

"We can no longer clearly distinguish between infectious and non-communicable diseases, during the coronavirus pandemic we have seen how these affect each other. Patients with non-communicable diseases are at risk of severe covid-19, while we are now investigating whether covid-19 can increase the risk of developing non-communicable diseases," says Hanne Løvdal Gulseth, the director of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

She adds that the interaction between infectious and non-communicable diseases is an issue that the Norwegian Institute of Public Health will continue to monitor.


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