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A research roadmap to address chronic diseases risk factors across multiple countries

Date: Thursday 1 November 10.45–12.15
Source: Forum 11
Authors: Lv Jun, Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Peking University Health Science Center, People's Republic of China

Abstract

Around the world, lifestyles are changing. It is increasingly difficult to make healthy choices: access, availability and affordability of healthy foods are decreasing; whereas unhealthy foods have become readily available and cheap. As a result, chronic diseases are rising at alarming rates in both developed and developing countries.

Decades of research based in developed countries has identified a collection of evidence-based or promising practices for prevention of chronic diseases, but this has not yet been applied to developing country settings in a comprehensive and self- sustaining way.

Community Interventions for Health (CIH) draws upon the knowledge and skills of global researchers, addressing the three main risk factors for chronic disease (physical inactivity, tobacco use and unhealthy diet) and the barriers to change through comprehensive community interventions.

CIH uses four strategies for change: 1) structural changes, such as environmental change, policy and economic changes; 2) community coalition-building; 3) health education; and 4) media ­ which will be implemented in four settings: schools, workplaces, health centres and neighbourhoods.

Some examples of strategies that will be implemented include, but are not limited to: creating opportunities for physical activity (environmental change); creating and/ or implementing smoke-free environmental policy (policy change); creating and/or implementing competitive food standards for healthy food options (economic change); building community coalitions to drive and sustain the changes in the community; using social marketing campaigns to drive behaviour change; and using public will campaigns to mobilize communities to advocate for structural changes.

The aim of CIH is to develop and showcase sustainable interventions. CIH provides the opportunity to build: 1) a best practice `roadmap' of guidance to address chronic disease risk factors; and 2) a comprehensive international database of intervention processes and outcomes. In other words, CIH will provide evidence and practical advice on what does, or does not, work in chronic disease prevention.