NCDs and diet

13 Mar 2024
Nathalie Vauterin

NCDs and diet

In our fast-paced world, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) also known as chronic diseases have emerged as a major global health concern, contributing significantly to morbidity and mortality. NCDs kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 74% of all deaths globally. These diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, most cancers, and respiratory diseases, are often linked to lifestyle factors, with diet and physical activity playing a pivotal role. 

Metabolic risks factors such as raised blood pressure, increased blood glucose, elevated blood lipid and obesity can lead to cardiovascular disease (CVDS), the leading NCD in terms of premature death. Unhealthy diet and a lack of physical activity contribute to the increase of metabolic risks factors in people. A recent study using a prospective population-based cohort data from the UK Biobank has shown that life expectancy can increase by up to 10 years following sustained shifts towards healthier diets in the United Kingdom. The largest gains are obtained from consuming more whole grains, nuts and fruits and less sugar-sweetened beverages and processed meats.

Adopting a balanced and varied diet and regular physical activity is crucial for preventing NCDs. The Mediterranean diet, characterized by high consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil, has consistently shown protective effects against CVDs and other NCDs. Similarly, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, focusing on reducing sodium intake and promoting a nutrient-rich diet, has been associated with lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of CVDs.

C3 has long recognised that where we live determines how we live, and diet is no different. Our built environment – access to affordable healthy food, green spaces and more –  often influences the choices we make which then impacts our health.  

Using C3’s knowledge and expertise in disease prevention and understanding of built environment – C3 has designed a series of evidence-based workshops to raise awareness of the impact of food on health, unpick health behaviours and explore how people can make small, sustainable changes towards improved wellbeing. Learn more about our Food Know How workshops here.