Globalization of unhealthy lifestyles creates health problems: WHO head

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The globalization of unhealthy lifestyles is creating serious health problems, according to the head of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr. Margaret Chan spoke at the start of the 8th Global Conference on Health Promotion in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday.

The conference is focusing on the need to take account of health impacts in all public policies, whatever the sector in which they originate.

Dr. Chan said the challenges facing public health have changed enormously since the start of this century.

"In our closely interconnected world, health everywhere is being shaped by the same powerful forces: demographic ageing, rapid urbanization and the globalization of unhealthy lifestyles. Under the pressure of these forces chronic non-communicable diseases have overtaken infectious diseases as the leading cause of morbidity, disability and mortality." (28")

Dr. Chan said that the globalization of unhealthy lifestyles is "by no means just a technical issue for public health" but a political issue, a trade issue and an issue for foreign affairs.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration; 1'07"

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