About half of the recommendations prompt by the World Health Organization (WHO) to reduce chronic disease are put into practice, based on new research.
Implementation is slowly improving, yet tobacco and alcohol policies are the least widely practiced, researchers report in The Lancet Global Health.
“It’s a matter of holding nations accountable for their global pledged and speaking truth to power when they fail to take action,” stated Dr. Luke Allen of the University of Oxford in the U.K., who led the study.
Non-communicable illnesses, like cancer and heart illness, account for 73% of deaths worldwide, the researchers note.
In 2015, 193 nations committed to reducing these deaths by one third, by 2030, by 18 policies to enhance healthcare provision as well as public health by nutrition, physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use.
The researchers reviewed WHO progress monitor reports from 2015 and 2017 to calculate implementation scores for 151 nations for the 18 policies.
In 2017, the average policy implementation score was 49%. Iran and Costa Rica had original scores for implementing 86% of the recommendations. Scores had been lowest in Haiti and South Sudan, with 5.5% of the policies carried out. Total scores rose in 109 nations between 2015 and 2017 and dropped in 32 nations.
Implementation increased for all 18 policies except for mass-media campaigns around physical exercise and bans on alcohol advertising. The most generally applied policies had been graphic warnings on tobacco packaging, disease risk-issue surveys, and national clinical guidelines.
Least-applied policies were tobacco taxation, anti-tobacco mass media campaigns, and the provision of cardiovascular therapies.