Youth and NCDs Data Center Closes Data Gaps on Youth NCD Prevention

The Population Reference Bureau’s new Youth and NCDs Data Center (, and launched at the UN General Assembly, pulls together risk factor data for non-communicable diseases in young people from over 200 countries into one easy-to-access package.

“Good policy comes from high quality information, and the Data Center will help policymakers and others to monitor trends around the world and inform their policy responses in this vital area,” said Toshiko Kaneda, senior research associate at PRB and the project ‘s director.

The Data Center provides an interactive data hub and visualisation tool for the prevalence among youth of the four key risk factors for NCDs: tobacco and alcohol use, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity. These behaviours can lead to respiratory and heart diseases, cancers and diabetes - shortening lives and having a devastating impact on health. They are already the leading cause of death in every global region with the exclusion of sub-Saharan Africa, and their impact is still growing.

The Data Center was set up with support from the Young Health Programme and brings together data from the Global School-Based Student Health Survey, the Global Youth Tobacco Survey, and the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children Study and allows the data to be viewed in map, tabular, trend line and bar chart formats by country, gender, and age or age groups.

The Data Center comes at a crucial time in NCD prevention. On 27 September 2018 the UN General Assembly hosted the Third High Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases bringing together heads of state and heads of government to review progress in reducing the risk of dying prematurely from NCDs.

“We hope that the Data Center will help to turn good intentions into effective policy” said Liam Sollis, Policy and Advocacy Manager at the Young Health Programme. “70% of noncommunicable diseases are linked to behaviours that started in childhood or adolescence. If policymakers focus on helping and supporting this group to lead healthier lives the benefits to these individuals and to the wider world will be immense”.