The global epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs*) is now widely acknowledged as a major development challenge in the 21st century and a significant threat to achieving internationally agreed development goals. NCDs are the leading causes of death worldwide. Almost two-thirds of all global deaths are due to NCDs. Increasingly, it is low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and the poorest and most vulnerable populations that are hardest hit by these largely preventable diseases. In addition to being the leading causes of death, NCDs often impose years of disability on those affected and their families. The onset of many NCDs can be prevented or delayed by addressing their common risk factors: tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet, and insufficient levels of physical activity.