5 July 2018

At New York, USA

President Casasco participates in the hearing on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases at the United Nations, NY

[New York – 5 July 2018] – On the 5th of July, President Maurizio Casasco attended the Hearing on prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which took place in New York, at the United Nations Headquarters.

The Hearing was convened by the President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, with the support of the WHO.

President Casasco, as President of the Italian Federation of Sports Medicine and as President of the European Federation of Sports Medicine Associations, focused his speech on the importance of Sports Medicine as multidisciplinary specialization which conducts research into the physical activity of top-level athletes, in order to transfer the knowledge gained to the National Health System.

“Sports Medicine” – said Mr. President – “is based on a culture of prevention, in which a key feature is risk reduction. In the whole Europe, thousands of sports medicine doctors work every day to reduce the risks for people engaging in physical activity. The aim of our work is to provide a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with everyone, everywhere, in order to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and so save people’s lives”.

“The primary cause of NCDs is inflammation” – added Mr. President – “and it can be tackled globally, and risk reduced globally, through physical exercise, rather than counting on other useful but much more expensive tools. For instance, cutting down on calorie intake can also bring benefits, but you need to have the right information on matters such as the quality of foods, specific details about them, and their availability and cost in terms of economic resources”.

Recent epigenetic studies have shown the positive effect of physical exercise on germ cells. This is extremely important for transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. So, primary prevention starts even before conception and continues throughout our whole lifespan, in order to improve the balance between biological and actual age.

It is not possible to cut the risk to zero, but it is possible to act to reduce it significantly, starting from the experience with Olympic athletes. The efficacy of correctly prescribed physical exercise can be tested first on
them, and the results appropriately applied to the whole population.

In conclusion, President Casasco underlined that European specific guidelines, which show the “right dose” of exercise for preventing and reducing the risk of NCDs at zero cost, already exist and are called “Exercise Prescription for Health”.

“These guidelines” – said Mr. President – “could be a first and very useful tool to reach this goal, which, as President of the Italian Federation of Sports Medicine and of the European Federation of Sports Medicine Associations, I would be proud to make available for a healthier world”.