Terrorism is less of a global threat than obesity, diabetes and smoking-relating diseases, and governments need to devote more money and attention to these kinds of preventable lifestyle diseases, according to experts attending an international conference in Sydney, Australia.
"Ever since September 11, we've been lurching from one crisis to the next, which has really frightened the public," Lawrence Gostin, a prominent American professor of health law, told Agence France-Presse.
"While we've been focusing so much attention on that, we've had this silent epidemic of obesity that's killing millions of people around the world, and we've devoting very little attention to it and a negligible amount of money," said Gostin, a professor at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins universities and an advisor to the U.S. government.
Accrding to World Health Organization figures, about 388 million people will die from chronic disease worldwide over the next decade. The figures were quoted by the Oxford Health Alliance, which organized the conference, AFP reported.
When the conference ends Wednesday, delegates are expected to issue a resolution calling on governments, big business, and others to take action to prevent millions of premature deaths from chronic disease.
Among the recommended goals: less sugar, fat and salt in foods; affordable fresh food; increased efforts to reduce smoking; and planning changes that promote walking and cycling and reduce motor vehicle emissions.