Facing the noncommunicable disease (NCD) global epidemic - The battle of prevention starts in utero - The FIGO challenge

Lluis Cabero Roura, Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are responsible for 36 million deaths every year. Of this death toll, nearly 80% (29 million) occur in low- and median-income countries. More than 9 million deaths attributed to NCDs occur in people under 60 years of age. National economies are suffering considerable losses due to premature death or disability to work resulting from heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. The knowledge that in utero and in early childhood certain processes can affect the risk of developing NCDs provides an opportunity to enforce interventions during this critical time, when they may have the greatest effect. Using appropriate protocols, the health-care provider can educate mothers about the risks of certain nutritional and environmental exposures and integrate health promotion on the agenda, as part of the social and economic development. All this could motivate a substantial reduction in the risk of NCDs. Current and future health challenges demand new and changing competencies that should form the basis for education, training, and workforce planning. The International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) is aware of that responsibility and has joined hands with other agencies and organizations that make a considerable effort in providing appropriate prenatal care programs to prevent and treat most of the common preconditioning factors, especially in low-income countries.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1400
Pages (from-to)5-14
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • diabetes mellitus
  • DOHaD
  • epigenetics
  • fetal programming
  • FIGO
  • NCDs


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