Global health: noncommunicable diseases

September 19, 2011
Nils Daulaire

Director, Office of Global Health Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services

One of the things that we recognize as we turn our focus to noncommunicable diseases is that whereas over the past 50 years, 75 years, as we focused on the drivers of ill health in low-income countries, we’ve been fighting nature. We’ve been fighting malaria. We’ve been fighting bacteria. We’ve been fighting viruses. Now we’re starting to get to a point where we have to battle with human nature.


The Honorable Nils Daulaire, MD, MPH Director, Office of Global Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services (Courtesy /COURTESY)

We are hard-wired to overconsume, to look for fats and sugars and salt in our diet because our ancestors lived in environments where those were precious commodities and you stored up as much as you could when you could get it. At the same time, it’s clear that the private sector has been, to a considerable extent, a driver and an accelerator of this process because they have made these “desirable products” all the more available and all the more affordable.

So we [need to] engage the private sector in common rules, rules of the game — and this is where regulation does play a constructive role because it sets a level playing field.

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