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Tufts Public Health is committed to addressing one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century. Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) threaten both health and development, causing human suffering as well as disrupting the socioeconomic fabric of countries, particularly those with low- and middle-incomes.

On World Health Day, April 7th, Tufts Public Health is hosting a symposium on the PURSEHIS study (Population Study of Urban, Rural and Semi-urban Regions for the Detection of Endovascular Disease and Prevalence of Risk Factors & Holistic Intervention Study), a Tufts collaborative epidemiological study of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and its risk factors in more than 8,000 participants in South India.

The symposium will highlight some of the many findings of the PURSEHIS: the effects of urbanization on vascular aging, the variation in the association of risk factor for CVD based on gender, socioeconomic status, and community, and the potential implications for the prevention of CVD and health care delivery in low resource settings.

Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) Key Facts:

  • NCDs account for 63% of all deaths globally: NCDs, primarily CVD, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, are responsible for 63% of all deaths worldwide. 80% of NCDs deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
  • CVD accounts for nearly half of NCD-related deaths: An estimated 17.5 million people died worldwide from CVDs in 2012, representing 31% of all deaths globally. Of these deaths, an estimated 7.4 million were due to coronary heart disease and 6.7 million were due to stroke.
  • NCDs are not only a health problem but a development challenge as well: NCDs force many people into, or entrench them in poverty due to catastrophic expenditures for treatment. They also have a large impact on undercutting productivity. According to World Economic Forum, over the next 20 years, NCDs will cost more than US$ 30 trillion, representing 48% of global GDP, and pushing millions of people below the poverty line.
  • Eliminating major risks could prevent most NCDs: If the major risk factors for NCDs – namely: tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol – were eliminated, about three-quarters of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes can be prevented; and 40% of cancer can be prevented.



“Addressing global noncommunicable diseases burden; a shared responsibility”