The ministry of Health has disclosed that most Kenyans living with non-communicable diseases are now below 40 years.
According to the ministry, they account for 53 percent of all NCDs patients, contrary to common belief that such diseases mostly affect the elderly.
It was gathered that this development is due to the poor lifestyle choices and polluted environment for the growing burden among young people.
The four commonest NCDs in Kenya are cancers, heart diseases, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases.
“This implies that NCDs will soon be a leading cause of ill health, disability, and premature death in the region,” the ministry said on Tuesday when it launched the 2022-2026 Kenya National Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable diseases.
Dr Gladwell Gathecha from the department of non-communicable diseases said the major risk factors include tobacco use, consumption of unhealthy diets, insufficient physical activity and harmful use of alcohol.
She noted that 19 percent of all Kenyans are now either obese or overweight.
“The prevalence is higher among women than men at a rate of 17.5 per cent for men and 38.5 per cent for women being overweight and 4.7 per cent of men and 13.7 per cent of women being obese,” she said during the report launch in Nairobi.
Dr Zipporah Ali, who heads the NCD Alliance-Kenya, a local non-profit organisation, urged the government to provide drugs to treat NCDs for free because most can’t afford to pay for the treatment.