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Excluded From WHO Targets, Children At Risk Of Being Forgotten In Global NCD Agenda

Guardian health editor Sarah Boseley examines why children have been excluded from WHO targets on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in this post in her “Global Health Blog,” writing, “Children die from cancer, heart disease and other [NCDs] but they are in danger of being forgotten as global targets for action are drawn up, say health groups.” Boseley discusses an analysis by advocate Kate Armstrong, which suggests “the targets now being considered by the [WHO] and others to reduce the impact of heart disease, cancer and other [NCDs] are in danger of being focused solely on adults,” as “the targets under consideration aim to bring down the deaths of adults over the age of 30.”

Boseley highlights a conference being held in Oakland, Calif., this week, the NCD Child Conference, which “is calling for children to be fully included in the efforts to tackle the ‘lifestyle diseases’ caused not just by eating the wrong foods and lack of exercise but by environmental problems and genetic misfortunes.” She notes that “the latest draft targets released by WHO contain no child/adolescent targets for reducing marketing of unhealthy food to children, nor any on asthma, obesity, hepatitis infection, or physical activity, say the conference organizers.” She writes that “although children’s needs were discussed” at a U.N. high-level meeting on NCDs held in New York last September, CLAN (Caring and Living as Neighbours), an organizer of the conference, and other groups “say they are in danger of being forgotten” (3/19).