Thursday, September 15, 2011

Actions speak louder than words for the UN Summit on Non Communicable Diseases

Next week the UN will hold a summit on Non Communicable Diseases, which include cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes, and which are all on the rise.  In preparation of this meeting I have been working on a European Parliament Resolution stating Europe's commitment to tackling these growing problems.

I think everyone can agree that these diseases are devastating lives and families across Europe, and they need to be addressed.  I'm glad we're setting a strong and coherent European line for the UN Summit but what's most important is that we act on what we say.

We all know that the rising rate of obesity and poor nutrition across Europe means more and more people are at risk from a whole range of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), so it still amazes me that we failed to go further in promoting healthier diets in the recent food labelling negotiations.  Unfortunately some MEPs and European governments decided to listen more to the food and drink industry than to the health experts.

We also know that tobacco is the biggest cause of NCDs, but yet we're still waiting for the European Commission to come forward with proposals on revising the Tobacco Products Directive.  If we get this directive right we could make smoking less appealing to young people and drastically cut the numbers dying from entirely preventable cancers and respiratory diseases.  Unfortunately it seems that the tobacco industry is so far being successful in stopping decisive action against NCDs.

I will continue to fight for policies that benefit people's health, and I hope the resolution we adopted today will be translated into real action to fight these diseases.

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