Non communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure etc. have become common causes of illness, disability and death and are emerging as a major public health issue in the developing countries such as Ethiopia.

Developing countries are experiencing double burden, with “modern” diseases appearing alongside the traditional diseases of poverty.

But, we have a very strong scientific evidence that attracting heart disease can be reduced by up to 80 percent and cancer by up to 60 percent simply by adopting a healthier lifestyle (by eating healthily, maintaining normal weight and exercising etc.) and up to 90 percent of cases of type 2 diabetes, could potentially be avoided through changing lifestyle factors.

Despite some differences between them NCDs have a common denominator which is the LIFESTYLE RELATED RISK FACTOR. Thus preventive strategies must take into account the growing trend of risk factors correlated to these diseases.

As the matter of fact, a better and a more cost-effective management, as well as prevention of chronic degenerative diseases is possible only if people have access to, and a good understanding of, accurate information from reliable sources and learn how to modify their lifestyle in order to combat the risk factors for NCDs and even reverse the condition once it has developed.

It is an urgent wake up call to recognize this dilemma and embrace every idea that encompasses these issues. And the sooner such measures take root, the greater the impact – and the lower the suffering and the death toll.

Therefore developing countries like Ethiopia should simultaneously start battling the growing epidemic of lifestyle related chronic diseases while addressing communicable diseases as before.

I believe that urgent preventive actions are needed and efficient strategies should be developed to deal with risk factors like unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol, high blood pressure and obesity.

It is our conviction that by focusing on lifestyle and preventive medicine and its holistic components and by exploring ways and means to persuade the individual and the public to emulate lifestyle changes, premature deaths due to chronic degenerative diseases and the complications related to them could be decreased, the quality of life enhanced and life expectancy and productivity elevated.

In Health,

Dr. Dawit Mengistu