Illustrative photo (Source: News Protein)

Hanoi (VNA) – An international workshop on tackling diet-related non-communicable diseases in Asia opened in Hanoi for the first time on November 19, bringing together experts from 12 countries, including China, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

In his remarks at the event, Greg Hallen – Programme Leader of the Food, Environment, and Health programme at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) from Canada – said non-communicable diseases caused 15 million deaths in developing countries in 2015, 3.8 million higher than that of 2000. These countries are facing up to various financial issues to provide health care services in general and prevent non-communicable diseases in particular, he said.

An unhealthy diet accounted for more than 19 percent of deaths worldwide caused by non-communicable diseases in 2017. It was also behind nearly 70 percent of deaths from coronary artery disease.

At the workshop, experts raised concern over the rise of diet-related non-communicable diseases among young people, which could lead to greater economic burden on society in the long run. However, there are very few studies on diet-related non-communicable diseases conducted in developing countries, indeed most medical evidence for this type of disease originate from more developed nations.

It is necessary to carry out studies on a larger scale across Asia to analyse the development of the diseases and thereby develop appropriate and sustainable medical intervention measures.

Rapid economic growth and urbanisation have changed people’s eating habits in a negative way, said Prof. Dang Duc Anh, Director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology. It is never too late or too early to seriously reconsider and take action to improve food safety and change the way people view and select certain foods, he added.

The workshop will run through until November 22. –VNA