The accelerating epidemics of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in India call for a comprehensive public health response which can effectively combat and control them before they peak and inflict severe damage in terms of unaffordable health, economic, and social costs. To synthesize and present recent evidences regarding the effectiveness of several types of public health interventions to reduce NCD burden. Interventions influencing behavioral risk factors (like unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco and alcohol consumption) through policy, public education, or a combination of both have been demonstrated to be effective in reducing the NCD risk in populations as well as in individuals. Policy interventions are also effective in reducing the levels of several major biological risk factors linked to NCDs (high blood pressure; overweight and obesity; diabetes and abnormal blood cholesterol). Secondary prevention along the lines of combination pills and ensuring evidenced based clinical care are also critical. Though the evidence for health promotion and primary prevention are weaker, policy interventions and secondary prevention when combined with these are likely to have a greater impact on reducing national NCD burden. A comprehensive and integrated response to NCDs control and prevention needs a “life course approach.” Proven cost-effective interventions need to be integrated in a NCD prevention and control policy framework and implemented through coordinated mechanisms of regulation, environment modification, education, and health care responses.
Keywords: Evidence base, India, NCD, public health interventions