PAHO/WHO STEPwise approach to noncommunicable disease (NCD) risk factor surveillance (STEPS)
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Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are responsible for 81% of all deaths in the region of the Americas, of which 34% befall prematurely in people between 30- 69 years old. The burden of theses diseases and their common risk factors jeopardize the health systems to provide adequate management, as well as to implement customized policies and interventions. The PAHO/WHO STEPwise approach to NCD risk factor surveillance (STEPS) is a simple, sequential, standardized method for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating data on key NCD risk factors in countries in adults from 18 to 69 years old. This survey covers key modifiable risk factors: tobacco use, alcohol use, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diet, as well as key biological risk factors: overweight and obesity, raised blood pressure, raised blood glucose, and abnormal blood lipids. STEPS is a household survey that gathers information on the risk factors through a face-to-face interview (step 1), simple physical measurements (step 2), and collection of urine and blood samples for biochemical analysis (step 3). Every step has a core set of questions, measurements, and expanded sets depending on the countries' needs and interests. It also has optional modules. Implementing STEPS allows the comparability of data within and between countries due to its standardized data collection. It also helps health services plan public health priorities and monitors and evaluates population-wide interventions. It is designed to help countries build and strengthen their capacity to conduct surveillance. STEPS captures 11 of the 25 indicators outlined in the NCD Global Monitoring Framework relating to 7 of the nine global targets.
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