Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are one of the greatest public health challenges globally in the 21st century. The NCDs burden is gargantuan. More than 36 million people die annually as a result of NCDs, including 15 million people who die too young – between the ages of 30 and 70. Moreover, more than three quarters of the global NCDs deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). A wide range of risky behaviours and unhealthy lifestyles contribute to NCDs. Potential risks include, but are not limited to, tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and harmful alcohol consumption. Most of the aforementioned risks are preventable. High blood pressure accounts for more than 7.5 million deaths annually. The second leading cause of NCDs is tobacco use, which contributes to 5.1 million deaths each year, followed by high blood glucose (3.4 million deaths) and physical inactivity respectively (3.2 million deaths). The impact of NCDs is catastrophic, not only in the health sector, but also in the economic arena due to premature mortality and labour losses. The World Economic Forum highlighted that NCDs may contribute to over US$ 30 trillion economic loss in the next 20 years, equivalent to approximately half of the global gross domestic products (GDPs) in 2010. Besides, there has been a concern amongst economic experts worldwide that NCDs will undermine not only the global GDP in monetary values but also labour supply and capital accumulation. Though, currently the burden of NCDs is borne mostly by high income countries, the NCDs prevalence increases in leap and bounds in LMICs due to steep economic and population growths.
To tackle NCDs crisis, it is needed to have concerted efforts from all stakeholders. Besides it is imperative to transcend the paradigm from ‘a matter of health providers’ to ‘a matter of everyday life’ of all people. Exercise is not just a matter of encouraging people to have physical activities but it may involve city planning. The prevention of unhealthy food necessitates a comprehensive view in dietary behaviour since early childhood. How commerce and economy become ‘poison’ or ‘panacea’ for NCDs. Feasibility of the implementation of policies for NCDs prevention at the local level must be taken into account.