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The Ministry of Health and Welfare Will Speak on Taiwan’s Experiences and Accomplishments Preventing Noncommunicable Diseases at the 67th World Health Assembly

  • Data Source:Ministry of Health and Welfare
  • Created:2014-05-23
  • Last Updated:2017-02-03

1.Responding to and Supporting the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) 2013-2020 
The 67th World Health Assembly (WHA) will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, between May 19 and May 24, 2014. In recent years, NCDs have rapidly become a major global health threat. According to a 2010 statistical report from the WHO, NCDs are responsible for 63% of deaths globally. This means that 36 million people died from NCDs every year. In September 2011, the United Nations (UN) invited the leaders of a number of countries to conduct a summit on NCDs and listed NCDs as a prevention priority. A technical committee (Committee A) of this year’s WHA will discuss NCD prevention. The WHO global coordination mechanism, the purview of ad hoc groups of UN agencies toward NCDs, and the action indicators developed in the Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020 will be discussed. 

Taiwan will participate actively in this year’s assembly as an observing member. Shu-Ti Chiou, Director-General of the Health Promotion Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare, will represent Taiwan and speak to the committee on Taiwan’s application of whole-of-government and whole-of-society development and its promotion of a variety of health-promoting policies. Taiwan provides evidence-based preventive health services, including health examinations, screenings, and smoking cessation, and supports the construction of the sites of health promotion (schools, the workplace, the military, hospitals and clinics, the community, and cities). It is actively preventing the four major risk factors of NCDs (smoking, improper drinking, lack of exercise, and unhealthy diet). Taiwan supports the WHO’s Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020. It has developed a monitoring system for health indicators that integrates 9 targets and 25 indicators for the monitoring of NCDs. It has also established an inter-ministerial NCD prevention program to reduce the exposure of its people to these risk factors. 

2.The Health Promotion Administration’s Actions to Prevent NCDs 

Shu-Ti Chiou, Director-General of the Health Promotion Administration, will share important policies and achievements for the prevention of NCDs in Taiwan over the past year: 

2.1.Obesity Prevention: 

(1.)The 2013 Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan indicated that the percentage of overweight and obese men and women decreased in comparison to the 2005-2008 surveys. The prevalence shrank from 51% to 46% in men and from 36% to 33% in women. The percentage of people that exercise regularly also increased from 26% in 2010 to 33% in 2013. 

(2.)The “smart eating, happy moving, daily weighing” campaign for healthy weight loss has entered its 4th year. Over the past 3 years, it has successfully attracted more than 2.18 million participants from workplaces, schools, and communities. These participants have succeeded in 3.33 million kilograms of healthy weight loss, with each person losing an average of 1.5 kilograms. This impressive achievement was reported on by the BBC television channel and website, Singapore’s NewsAsia television channel, “The Nation’s Health Newspaper” published by the American Public Health Association, and Japan’s NHK television channel in 2013. 

(3.)Beginning in 2011, 19 obesity prevention and community detection indicators from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were adopted to establish the Taiwan Community and Environmental Assessment Tool Operation Manual for Obesity Prevention. This manual guides 22 county and city health bureaus across Taiwan to integrate with community leaders and volunteers to perform reviews of the environmental causes of obesity within 368 villages and towns. Community forces work together to improve these issues by constructing supply systems for healthy eating and diversifying dynamic living environments. Promotional brochures, posters, websites, and free consultation service hotlines for weight loss are also provided to increase the people’s knowledge of calories and nutrition and to develop the implementation of healthy living skills among the people, thereby preventing chronic diseases and improving the physical and mental health of the Taiwanese people. 

(4.)In 2013, the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation was amended to stipulate that the sale and marketing of foods that often lead to chronic diseases or are not appropriate for long-term consumption by children can be restricted. 

2.2.In regard to tobacco control, Taiwan has further expanded its smoking bans. On April 1, 2014, smoking in national parks, national natural parks, scenic areas, and specific areas and park spaces in forest recreation areas outside of smoking areas became illegal. With ample policy preparation, communication, and instruction, this measure has been promoted successfully and is supported by 95% of the general population and 80% of smokers. 

2.3.In regard to alcohol harm prevention, Taiwan implemented a zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving on June 13, 2013. The successful amendment lowered the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration to 0.03%, which is even stricter than the 0.05% set in the European Union. Taiwan is also actively implementing road checkpoints. Within 11 months the rate of mortality from drunk driving accidents was successfully reduced by 39%. 

3.Taiwan Continues to Focus on Reducing Premature Mortality From NCDs, Improving Healthy Life Expectancy, and Reducing Health Inequalities 

With the rapid aging of the population and growing threats from NCDs, the Health Promotion Administration will aim to increase healthy life expectancy and reduce health inequalities in the future. Taiwan is responding to the WHO’s 2013-2020 global targets for NCD prevention. In 2025, early mortality from the four major NCDs is to be reduced by 25%. In addition, interdisciplinary integration for source prevention will be strengthened, digitized propagation will be promoted, the health knowledge of the people will be improved, and the professional performance of human resources and organizations will be strengthened. By increasing the depth and breadth of services, the health of the people will be promoted.