Home | WHPA Press Releases | Poor Health Choices are Robbing Years of Life Worldwide Says WHPA

World Medical Association [WMA]
International Council of Nurses (ICN)
International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP)


World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA)

Poor Health Choices are Robbing Years of Life
Worldwide Says WHPA

World Health Report zeros in on the  ‘top10’ risk factors for poor health


Geneva, 4 November 2002 – Speaking with one voice, the world’s pharmacists, nurses and physicians emphasized the importance of reducing risks and promoting healthy lifestyles as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the 2002 World Health Report.  The WHPA stressed the importance of concerted efforts by health professionals and sound governmental policy in guiding populations to make healthy choices.

The top 10 ‘risk factors’ that lead to poor health were identified in the report as underweight children; unsafe sex; high blood pressure; unsafe water; tobacco consumption; alcohol consumption; poor sanitation and hygiene; iron deficiency; indoor smoke; high cholesterol and obesity. The WHO report is one of the largest research projects ever accomplished by a United Nations agency.

“Prevention is the safest long-term and cost-effective tool to increase health for all,” commented Ton Hoek, Secretary General of the International Pharmaceutical Federation. “Pharmacists, being one of the most accessible healthcare professionals, can provide counselling on healthy lifestyles, and thus help to reduce the risks to human health. Showing people how their patterns of living affect their health is a key task for pharmacists in their professional practice.”

"The risk factors that are attributed to 47% of global mortality can be drastically reduced with the determined and collaborative effort of health professionals and patient organisations. Even in those risk factors that lie outside the health system, health professionals can make a great impact on morbidity and mortality by working with other sectors," explained Judith Oulton, Chief Executive Officer of the International Council of Nurses.

Delon Human, Secretary General of the WMA, emphasized the importance of cardiovascular disease and tobacco control. "As healthcare professionals, we hope that governments will use this report to develop policies on the early detection and treatment of cardiovascular disease and to effectively implement tobacco control. Many countries do not even have such policies in place, and we are encouraged by the leadership shown by WHO in this regard.”

WHPA supports the recommendation of the World Health Organization to give top priority to developing effective, committed policies for the prevention of globally increasing high risks to health. Working together as the key players in the health care team, physicians, pharmacists and nurses will continue to give guidance and support to health promotion projects carried out at a national and international level.




The World Health Professions Alliance brings together medicine, nursing and pharmacy through their representative international organisations, International Council of Nurses (ICN), International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) and the World Medical Association (WMA) and represents more than 20 million health professionals worldwide.


  • The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of 125 national nurses' associations representing the millions of nurses worldwide.  Operated by nurses for nurses since 1899, ICN is the international voice of nursing and works to ensure quality care for all and sound health policies globally.

  • The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) is the worldwide federation of national associations of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists. Pharmacists are health care professionals dedicated to improving access to and value of appropriate medicine use worldwide.   

  • The World Medical Association (WMA) is a global federation of national medical associations, representing the millions of physicians worldwide.  Acting on behalf of physicians and patients, the WMA endeavours to achieve the highest possible standards of medical science, education, ethics and health care for all people.


For further information contact Linda Carrier-Walker Tel :  +41 22  908 0100;
fax :   +41 22  908 0101;  email:  ; Web site  www.icn.ch 

PR/02 #20


What is the WHPA? | Press Releases | Joint Statements | Fact Sheets |
Events/Conferences | Counterfeit Campaign | Links | Contact Us | Home