The World Health Organization (WHO) has set a number of targets for reducing so-called non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 25 percent by 2025. NCDs are chronic illnesses caused by dietary and lifestyle factors. They include obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory illnesses that combined have become the leading causes of death globally, according to the agency.
Chronic diseases account for 36 million deaths annually, over 60 percent of all human mortality. They continue to accelerate globally and are advancing across all regions, affecting all socioeconomic classes. It is expected that almost three-quarters of all deaths will be caused by chronic diseases by 2020.
Chronic diseases are defined as illnesses of long duration and generally slow progression. They are also considered as largely preventable by positive dietary and lifestyle changes.