Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) have become the primary health concern for most countries around the world. Currently, more than 36 million people worldwide die from NCDs each year, accounting for 63% of annual global deaths; most are preventable. The global financial burden of NCDs is staggering, with an estimated 2010 global cost of $6.3 trillion (US dollars) that is projected to increase to $13 trillion by 2030. A number of NCDs share one or more common predisposing risk factors, all related to lifestyle to some degree: (1) cigarette smoking, (2) hypertension, (3) hyperglycemia, (4) dyslipidemia, (5) obesity, (6) physical inactivity, and (7) poor nutrition. In large part, prevention, control, or even reversal of the aforementioned modifiable risk factors are realized through leading a healthy lifestyle (HL). The challenge is how to initiate the global change, not toward increasing documentation of the scope of the problem but toward true action - creating, implementing, and sustaining HL initiatives that will result in positive, measurable changes in the previously defined poor health metrics. To achieve this task, a paradigm shift in how we approach NCD prevention and treatment is required. The goal of this American Heart Association/European Society of Cardiology/European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation/American College of Preventive Medicine policy statement is to define key stakeholders and highlight their connectivity with respect to HL initiatives. This policy encourages integrated action by all stakeholders to create the needed paradigm shift and achieve broad adoption of HL behaviors on a global scale.
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