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Glob Health Promot. 2016 Sep;23(3):5-13. doi: 10.1177/1757975914567513. Epub 2015 Mar 10.

Prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases through evidence-based public health: implementing the NCD 2020 action plan.

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Vorarlberg Public Health Society, Vorarlberg, Austria
Prevention Research Center in St. Louis, Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis, MO, USA Division of Public Health Sciences and Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, Washington University School of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis, MO, USA.
Department of Preventive Medicine, Lithuanian Health Science University, Kaunas, Lithuania.
World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, Denmark.
School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.


The control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) was addressed by the declaration of the 66th United Nations (UN) General Assembly followed by the World Health Organization's (WHO) NCD 2020 action plan. There is a clear need to better apply evidence in public health settings to tackle both behaviour-related factors and the underlying social and economic conditions. This article describes concepts of evidence-based public health (EBPH) and outlines a set of actions that are essential for successful global NCD prevention. The authors describe the importance of knowledge translation with the goal of increasing the effectiveness of public health services, relying on both quantitative and qualitative evidence. In particular, the role of capacity building is highlighted because it is fundamental to progress in controlling NCDs. Important challenges for capacity building include the need to bridge diverse disciplines, build the evidence base across countries and the lack of formal training in public health sciences. As brief case examples, several successful capacity-building efforts are highlighted to address challenges and further evidence-based decision making. The need for a more comprehensive public health approach, addressing social, environmental and cultural conditions, has led to government-wide and society-wide strategies that are now on the agenda due to efforts such as the WHO's NCD 2020 action plan and Health 2020: the European Policy for Health and Wellbeing. These efforts need research to generate evidence in new areas (e.g. equity and sustainability), training to build public health capacity and a continuous process of improvement and knowledge generation and translation.


capacity building (including competencies); knowledge translation; prevention; public health

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