The Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME) has called on doctors across Europe to promote healthy lifestyles through both contacts with patients and their national medical associations.
The call to action comes as the latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO) show 71 per cent of 56.9 million global deaths in 2016 were due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The burden of these diseases is rising disproportionately among socio-economically deprived populations and in lower-income countries. The CPME said the socio-economic inequality in the prevalence of NCDs emphasises the importance of the promotion of healthy lifestyles by healthcare professionals.
In a newly adopted policy on healthy living, the CPME board said it viewed action in primary prevention as essential to ensure that people are able to live as healthy lives as possible, which "will in turn reduce the incidence of non-communicable diseases and the resulting pre-mature deaths in the populations we serve." It urged national medical associations to encourage all doctors to promote healthy lifestyles during contacts with patients.
The CPME said action is also needed by central and local authorities, for example, in structuring local communities and health services in a way that ensures equal possibilities for healthy living for all citizens.