Lesson 4 Non Communicable Diseases 

Non communicable diseases (NCDs) (also known as chronic diseases) exist due to genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioural factors and the most common are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes. 

  • Non communicablediseasesare responsible for 41 million deaths each year, which corresponds to 71% of all deaths globally.
  • Cardiovasculardiseasesare the most prevalent cause of death due to NCDs (17.9 million people each year), cancers come second with 9.3 million deaths, respiratory diseases account for 4.1 million, and diabetes for 1.5 million.
  • Tobacco, lackof physicalactivity, excessive use of alcohol and unhealthy diet are major risk factors that increase mortality from NCDs.

Please keep in mind that NCDs are very common and risk factors are mainly lifestyle habits that are adopted through childhood and adolescence. Therefore, try to provide healthy foundation and guidance in order for your child to thrive! 

  • High blood pressure
  • Overweight/obese
  • High levels of glucose
  • High levels of cholesterol
  • Geneticfactors
  • Modifiable risks: Tobacco and alcohol use, lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet
  • Materialdeprivation
  • Migration
  • Psychosocial distress
  • Risk behaviour
  • Unhealthy living conditions
  • Limitedaccessto high quality health care
  • Low SES 
  • Reduced opportunity to prevent complications
  • Unhealthy habits like tobacco use, unhealthy eating, sedentary lifestyle and overweight or obese

In this lesson we will analyse the following terms which correspond to reversible factors of NCDs: 

Overweight/ Obesity

Physical Inactivity 

Addiction Issues

Overweight/ Obesity


Overweight/obesity are nutritional problems that can cause NCDs in the future like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer and are also associated with depression.

Obesity is very complex as it has it’s routes on genetic alongside with environmental causes. However, the consequences of obesity are harmful for the health of young children.

  • High blood pressure and cholesterol, that can lead in future cardiovascular disease.
  • Diabetes
  • Breathing problems
  • Musculoskeletal problems due to extra weight
  • Liverdisease

Source: https://unsplash.com

Physical Inactivity

Physical Inactivity:

  • Low SES (economic struggle that leads to cheaper but unhealthier food choices)
  • Promotion of the western type sedentary lifestyle 
  • Cultural beliefs and traditions about body weight, nutrition and physical activity are a barrier towards maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. Increased body weight is a sign of wealth and wellbeing in some countries, therefore physical activity is considered to be a waste of time. 

Source: https://pixabay.com 

Addiction Issues

Addiction issues:

Addiction issues (like alcohol and drug abuse) are prevalent in children and adolescents that are exposured to certain risk factors.

  • Early aggressive behaviour
  • Problems in school 
  • Peer pressure
  • Exposure to violence and stress
  • Loss of family
  • Poverty  
  • Socioeconomic barriers  
  • Undiagnosed mental health problems

Addiction can lead to a variety of NCDs but it can also cause or exacerbate mental health problems like anxiety and depression and even lead to suicide.

Source: https://www.pexels.com/

Dental problems are common in children but they can cause pain and frustration. 

These problems vary from dental cavities to more severe dental conditions. Most of them are preventable, therefore, parents should take extra care in preventing them.

Firstly, the most important practice is urging your child towards teeth brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Additionally, parents should arrange check-up appointments with a dentist in order to prevent or to early diagnose the development of dental problems.

Non communicable diseases in children from low SES families

It has been shown that living in a low or middle income country is associated with higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, lung and gastric cancer, type 2 diabetes, and Chronic Respiratory Diseases.

Lower SES has also been associated with a higher body mass index (BMI), less healthy nutrition and less physical activity. Therefore, children in low SES families are in greater risk of developing NCDs in the future. 

In addition, there is further evidence of correlation between SES and laboratory parameters, e.g., serum lipid levels. 

  • Fromthe ageof 6 years onwards for diet 
  • From12 yearsfor physical activity and daily smoking
  • After21 yearsfor BMI 
  • After24 yearsfor systolic blood pressure