Public Health (Non-communicable Disease)

Hmong child

The WUN Public Health Global Challenge emphasizes a life-course approach to opportunities for addressing non-communicable diseases especially in low and middle income countries and transitioning populations but also in developed societies where there are social disparities in risk. This focus is based on substantial evidence for the inextricable linkage between maternal, perinatal, infant and childhood factors and the risk of developing NCDs later in life, through changing the sensitivity to later life exposures. It is recognised in addition that some non-communicable diseases are linked to communicable disease and some have genetic predisposing factors. Particular attention will be paid to both population- and individual-based approaches to increase access to education, to promote health literacy in children, adolescents and parents and to empowering women, both to reduce the burden of NCDs and to provide other benefits such as gender equality and promoting neurocognitive capacities. Links with ongoing global initiatives such as those linked to the Millennium Development Goals, maternal and child health, food security etc. should be sought.

The focus of the WUN Public Health Global Challenge in 2013-14 is on:

1.  Health of family and migrants across the life course

How does migration affect the health and wellbeing of families? This theme includes ageing, non-communicable disease, mental health and the economic impact of migration as a determinant of health outcomes for both migrants and family members who are left behind.

2.  The resilience of adolescents in different cultural contexts

What factors promote physical and mental health resilience in young people in different cultural settings?  This theme includes identification and measurement of factors (individual, family, social and environmental) that promote resilience in young people.  It also addresses the health outcomes that can be related to resilience, including physical and mental health, education, productivity, self-esteem, happiness and risk-behaviours, and interventions to promote greater resilience to improve health outcomes. 

3.  Schools as a setting for reducing risk factors associated with NCDs

How can interventions in schools help to effectively reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs)? This theme includes identification, implementation and measurement of  best practice to support the development of sustained health behaviours through curriculum-based, policy-based and public health messaging interventions in a wide range of social, cultural, geographic and economic contexts.