Kliniken &… Institute Heidelberger Institut… Groups & Projects Working Groups NCD

Non-communicable diseases (NCD) Working Group

Heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease are the major chronic, non-communicable diseases (NCD) which account for about 70% (38 million per year) of all deaths worldwide. This NCD burden is not restricted to high income countries. Today, almost 75% of the global NCD deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Even worse, of the 16 million premature (below age 70) deaths related to NCDs worldwide, 82% happen in LMICs. 
The NCD working group is not only working on the 4 major NCDs according to the WHO definition, but also on other NCDs such as mental health, injuries, chronic kidney disease, etc.

More and more LMICs are facing major changes in their disease pattern. The improving control of infectious diseases results in a higher life expectancy which leads to an increase of chronic conditions and diseases. This so-called epidemiologic transition demands for prevention and management of the steadily rising NCD burden while still addressing the decreasing but significant burden of communicable diseases. This transition bears extreme challenges for health policy.

Prevention is the key to address the NCD burden in underprivileged populations by reducing the main NCD risk factors, which may be grouped into modifiable behavioral risk factors (tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, harmful use of alcohol) and metabolic risk factors (hypertension, obesity, hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia). Apart from this classical risk factors the NCD group is also addressing the social determinants of health (e.g. indoor air pollution, poverty, education), which play a major role in population health not only in low-income countries.  


Till Bärnighausen
Claudia Beiersmann
Stephan Brenner
Manuela De Allegri
Philipp Jaehn
Simone Kaucher
Nicholas Kyei
Florian Neuhann
Aurelia Souares
Zahia Wasko
Amanda Wendt