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  • Main points

Main points

Since 2015, deaths from NCDs before the age of 70 have fallen by 31 per cent. The reduction in mortality due to cancer and cardiovascular disease has been the most pronounced.

Since 2015, deaths from NCDs before the age of 70 have fallen by 31 per cent. The reduction in mortality due to cancer and cardiovascular disease has been the most pronounced.

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Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are among the most significant causes of premature mortality among adults in both wealthy and poor countries.

The term “premature mortality” here means death before the age of 70. The NCDs included in these statistics are: heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Targets towards 2025 and 2030

In 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted a resolution to reduce premature mortality from NCDs by 25 per cent between 2010 and 2025. This was later adjusted to a 33 per cent reduction during 2015-2030 and is included in the United Nations' goals for sustainable development. There are eight additional targets, see below. The nine targets are often described as the “NCD targets.” 

In Norway, the number of premature NCD deaths declined from 212 per 100 000 inhabitants in 2015 to 176 in 2021, corresponding to a 17 % decrease.

A reduction of 17 per cent in premature mortality between 2015 and 2021 indicates that Norway is making progress towards achieving the 33 per cent target by 2030. However, the greatest challenge for Norway may be that high levels of smoking cessation have already consolidated some of the effects. The question remains whether there will be a further decline in the years to come. The past two years may also have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Norway: positive trends for seven out of nine targets

The nine targets established by WHO to combat NCDs are shown in Figure 1. In addition to reducing premature mortality before the age of 70 (Target 1), the objective is also to reduce the four most important common risk factors:

  • Tobacco use
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • High alcohol consumption

There are also other targets concerning blood pressure, obesity and access to treatment for everyone who needs it.

The Government has drawn up its own National NCD Strategy for the period 2013-2017. There are plans to develop a follow-up strategy.

Norway’s status shows apparent progress in respect of six out of the nine targets. We have been unable to reverse the trend for two of the targets. This concerns the target on a 15 percent reduction in physical inactivity, and the target on halting the rise in obesity and diabetes, see Figure 1. For another target, reducing salt in the diet, we do not currently have data showing trends over time.

Nevertheless, we need to monitor progress closely. Several areas are in need of better temporal data, for example, data on counselling to prevent myocardial infarction and stroke, and data on salt intake in the population over time. There is also the question of whether a negative trend in certain targets will occur due to the increasing prevalence of adults with obesity.

The nine NCD targets give just one of many perspectives on the population’s state of health.  For Norway, it will be important to monitor whether progress is taking place within all social classes or if we are heading towards wider social disparities in health.  

Summarising table

Figure 1 below shows the nine targets and Norway’s current status.

Table summarising the aims for NCD

Comments on the table and links to relevant chapters:

Target 1. Premature mortality

  • 17 per cent reduction in the proportion with premature NCD deaths for the age group 30-69 years (2015-2021). 

Target 2. Alcohol

  • 8 per cent reduction in alcohol consumption (2010-2019).
  • No definite change in self-reported alcohol consumption (2012-2022). 
  • 6 % decrease in the proportion reporting episodic high alcohol consumption (2012-2022). 
  • We lack valid indicators for alcohol-related diseases.

Target 3. Physical inactivity

Target 4. Salt intake. Here, we have data from 2015/16 but we lack data on progress over time.

Target 5. Tobacco use

Smoking, daily or non-daily (2009-2019)  

Snus use (moist powder tobacco), daily or non-daily (2009-2019)  

Target 6. Raised blood pressure, for the period 2006-2019:

  • 15 per cent reduction in the proportion of adult males with raised blood pressure in Nord Trøndelag during 2006-2019. 
  • 14 per cent reduction in the proportion of adult females with raised blood pressure in Nord Trøndelag during 2006-2019. 
  • 24 per cent reduction in the proportion of adult males with raised blood pressure in Tromsø during 2008-2016.
  • 25 per cent reduction in the proportion of adult females with raised blood pressure in Tromsø during 2008-2016.

Target 7. Diabetes and obesity

Diabetes for the period for 2007-2016:

  • 54 per cent rise in the proportion of males who have diabetes in Tromsø.
  • 63 per cent rise in the proportion of females who have diabetes in Tromsø.


Target 8. Drug therapy and counselling to prevent heart attacks and strokes
Comment: In Norway the proportion receiving drug therapy is much higher than 50 per cent. We lack data on counselling. 

Target 9. Access to drug therapy and counselling for NCDs (NCD medicines).

In Norway, the proportion of individuals with access to NCD medicines is close to 100 per cent.

National group

In Norway, a national group was established to collect and present data on the nine targets. The group forms the editorial team for this publication. The data have been published on the Norwegian Institute of Public Health’s web pages in the form of indicators. Each indicator is described in a separate chapter of this web publication.

There are 25 indicators in total, of which some are directly linked to the NCD targets, while others are additional indicators that underpin the NCD targets more indirectly. 



26.05.2023: Target 3 - updated date from 2015 to 2022

30.01.2023: Updated text and figures

26.11.2021: Updated goal 1