Promoting Healthy Behaviors Among Youth to Tackle Kenya’s Growing Noncommunicable Diseases Epidemic

by Toshiko Kaneda, Neema Osewe, and Lilian Mbau-Simba
Population Reference Bureau, 2017

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Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading causes of death today in all regions around the world, except sub-Saharan Africa. Projections show, however, that the region will experience the world’s largest increase in NCD deaths by 2020, and will also have NCDs as the leading causes of death by 2030. Kenya is experiencing a growing NCD epidemic: current estimates show that NCDs make up a third of all deaths. A number of factors, including rapid urbanization, globalization, and aging of the population all contribute to the growing NCD burden in Kenya, but many NCDs are largely preventable by changing unhealthy behaviors. The four major NCDs (CVDs, cancers, chronic lung diseases, and diabetes) share four key risk behaviors: tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, lack of exercise, and an unhealthy diet.

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