Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO, deputy regional director, South-East Asia
"This number is expected to grow larger if we do not act now to arrest this epidemic," said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO, deputy regional director, South-East Asia.
Heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, and respiratory diseases account for most of the deaths and disease due to noncommunicable diseases.
While noncommunicable diseases are a global public health challenge, nearly three quarters of the deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
"The problem is growing, particularly in the South-East Asia Region, where two out of three deaths are caused by noncommunicable diseases. Nearly half of deaths due to noncommunicable diseases occur in the 30 to 70 year age group. Today, a 30 year old person living in the WHO South-East Asia Region has 25 percent chances of dying from one of the four main noncommunicable diseases before his or her 70th birthday. This probability is much less at 15 percent for an individual in the Americas," Dr Singh added.
Most of the premature NCD deaths are preventable. Promoting simple lifestyle changes and diet modifications can prevent noncommunicable diseases.