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WHO’s Chan Warns ‘Big Business’ Poses Challenges To Fighting NCDs

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan “has warned that efforts to promote good health are more vital than ever given that non-communicable diseases have overtaken infectious diseases as the leading cause of death, but they face daunting challenges, including from ‘big business,’” RTT News reports. “‘Today, the tables are turned. Instead of diseases vanishing as living conditions improve, socio-economic progress is actually creating the conditions that favor the rise of non-communicable diseases,’ Chan said in her address to the 8th Global Conference on Health Promotion, held in Finnish capital Helsinki on Monday,” the news service writes (6/10).

“Chan told participants that today, getting people to lead healthy lifestyles and adopt healthy behaviors faces opposition from forces that are ‘not so friendly,’” the U.N. News Centre states. Chan said, “It is not just Big Tobacco anymore. Public health must also contend with Big Food, Big Soda, and Big Alcohol. All of these industries fear regulation, and protect themselves by using the same tactics,” such as “front groups, lobbies, promises of self-regulation, lawsuits, and industry-funded research that ‘confuses the evidence and keeps the public in doubt,’” according to the news service. “In the view of WHO, the formulation of health policies must be protected from distortion by commercial or vested interests,” Chan said, the news service notes (6/10).