The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) called the attention of various sectors to take action in addressing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) or commonly known as lifestyle diseases. These diseases include heart and respiratory diseases, cancers, and diabetes.
Data from the World Health Organization Global Burden of Disease (WHO GBD) 2010 show that 309,000 Filipinos die annually from NCDs.
NAST PHL held the 37th Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) focusing on “The Challenges of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs): Responding through Multisectoral Action”. The ASM brought together the government (Senate and Congress), the science community, and all sectors, toinvolve them in the prevention and control of NCDs. The ASM steering committee came up with resolutions, which resulted from the recommendations of the pre-ASM roundtable discussion.
According to Academician Antonio Miguel L. Dans, member of the NAST Health Sciences Division and co-chair of the NAST 37th ASM Steering Committee, development of NCDs involve many factors— genetics, lifestyle, and the environment being the major contributors. Despite genetic predisposal, these diseases can be prevented by having a healthy lifestyle — improving dietary patterns, increasing physical activity, reducing tobacco and alcohol consumption, among others.
He said that while there are existing campaigns to educate people, lifestyle cannot be changed by education alone. “Lifestyle is a response to how we have built the world around us, the infrastructure, existing laws and policies, and even the socio-economic environment”, Acd. Dans said.
NAST PHL is the primary adviser to the government and science community on matters related to science and technology. It was established by the Presidential Decree No. 1003-A on December 16, 1976 under President Ferdinand E. Marcos.