Non-communicable disease prevention in Africa: challenges and opportunities for increasing physical activity levels and active transport in Kenya
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Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) continue to be a serious public health crisis in both developed and low-and middle-income countries (LMICs). Evidence show that the health burden of NCDs appear to be permeating the globe, with an increasing trend in LMICs due to the physical activity and nutrition transition all of which result in marked changes in patterns of consumption of food and alcohol, increased tobacco use and low levels of physical activity. The burden of NCDs is, therefore, likely to increase tremendously over the coming decades unless there is appropriate intersectoral action and approach to address the common risk factors. It is instructive to note that NCDs are becoming more and more prevalent in LMICs, creating a double burden for these countries since infectious diseases are still common. If the present trend is maintained, the health systems in these countries will be unable to support the burden of disease hence the urgent need for efficient and effective strategies to deal seriously with the common NCD risk factors. In the case of physical inactivity, there is an increased focus on active transport as a key priority for action through the use of intersectoral approaches. Effective urban planning can help create frameworks for physical activity and active transport, thus better public health. Urban planning has often lagged behind growth leading to inefficient and undesirable spatial configurations. This presentation focuses on 1) the key challenges that hinder the promotion of physical activity and active transport in Kenya, and 2) the potential opportunities for increasing physical activity levels and active transport in Kenya with a particular focus on urban planning.