People need to stop smoking, drink less alcohol and become more active to tackle a host of related health problems, according to health secretary Andrew Lansley.
Speaking in front of UN members, Mr Lansley stated that cases of obesity, cancer and cardiovascular disease could be reduced if the population made these simple lifestyle changes and he called for worldwide co-operation on the issue.
The last global meeting on similar matters discussed how to tackle smallpox, polio and other infectious diseases and Mr Lansley hopes this meeting on noncommunicable diseases can be as successful.
Figures from the UN show that 60 per cent of deaths can be attributed to cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung diseases and diabetes – the four main noncommunicable diseases.
A "whole government" approach is needed with a prominence given to "prevention", "physical activity" and "personal and corporate responsibility", Mr Lansley said.
The first of these initiatives will see the government release its plans to tackle obesity later this year.