Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) (such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and lung disease) are responsible for almost 39,000 deaths every year in Scotland — more than two-thirds of all deaths. Additionally, the burden of chronic disease on Scotland’s communities is huge. In 2016, the Scottish Public Health Observatory (ScotPHO) calculated that more than 590,000 years of healthy life were lost to NCDs.
As research progresses, we are understanding that many of these deaths and lost healthy years of life are preventable through addressing modifiable and societal risk factors such as reducing the number of people who smoke, levels of overweight and obesity, and how much alcohol people drink. It has been estimated that almost 14,000 deaths in Scotland are preventable through public health action.
That’s why Obesity Action Scotland has joined forces with nine other charities dedicated to addressing NCDs and the risk factors that impact the nation’s health, to set out a series of priorities to improve the health of everyone in Scotland and reduce the burden of noncommunicable disease on Scotland’s NHS.
With the Scottish Parliament election approaching in May 2021, it is more crucial than ever for all political parties to commit to taking bold action to tackle these risk factors.