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Chronic Diseases Joint Action started at kick-off meeting in Madrid January 29, 2014

30 Jan 2014

Chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular, respiratory and musculoskeletal diseases and depression, are increasingly prevalent in the EU.

The “CHRODIS” Joint Action, addressing chronic diseases and promoting healthy ageing across the life cycle, co-financed by the EU Health Programme, started its work yesterday at a kick-off meeting in Madrid.

The objective of CHRODIS is to help EU countries and regions exchange good practices in tackling chronic diseases. A special focus will be given to health promotion and disease prevention, multi-morbidity (people with more than one long-term condition) and diabetes.

The CHRODIS Joint Action, involving 38 organisations from 22 Member States, Norway and Iceland, will run until the end of March 2017. The principal expected outcome will be a mechanism for the collection, validation, scaling up and transferring of good practices to address Chronic Diseases, multi-morbidity and diabetes.

Chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular, respiratory and musculoskeletal diseases and depression, are increasingly prevalent in the EU. According to the World Health Organisation, 86% of deaths in Europe are due to chronic diseases, and the joint EC/OECD “Health at a Glance: Europe 2012” report1, notes that more than 6% of people aged 20-79 years in the European Union, or 30 million people, had diabetes in 2011.

Experts agree that many chronic diseases are either preventable or can be delayed, and rates can be vastly tackled by reducing or avoiding key risk factors such as smoking, over-nutrition and unbalanced diets, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption and exposure to certain chemical substances.

Part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to tackling the chronic disease burden in Europe is to co-finance projects and actions, carried out by Member States, through the Health Programme. CHRODIS is the first EU-funded Joint Action in the area of chronic diseases and healthy ageing. It is funded under the 2013 Plan, with 50% EC co-funding of € 4,6 million and a total cost of € 9,2 million.

Chronic diseases affect the sufferer over a long period of time and generally progress slowly. Some of them – cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, mental illness – represent leading causes of mortality.

Tackling four major risk behaviours – smoking, alcohol abuse, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle – can help prevent many chronic diseases. But to be effective, such efforts need to be based on targeted health promotion, prevention and early detection.

To efficiently address the challenge of chronic diseases, an integrated, horizontal approach is essential – involving all the relevant levels, from communities to policy makers.

Social and environmental determinants also play an important role in the development of chronic diseases, and there is a clear inequality in the burden of such conditions and in the access to prevention and control.

More information on EU action to address major and chronic diseases:
http://ec.europa.eu/health/major_chronic_diseases/policy/index_en.htm

1Link to report: http://ec.europa.eu/health/reports/docs/health_glance_2012_en.pdf

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