Prevention of non-infectious diseases – HSC Biology

Understanding the prevention of non-infectious diseases, also known as non-communicable diseases is critical for HSC biology but more importantly for your well-being in general. Wisdom is having a long-term outlook. It is being able to identify the non-immediate consequences of immediate actions. That is why wisdom is prevention.

Preventing non-infectious diseases is like playing a game of “dodgeball”! Just like you try to avoid getting hit by a ball in dodgeball, you can take steps to avoid getting non-infectious diseases. Here’s how:

  • Eat a healthy diet – prevent lifestyle diseases such as obesity, and nutritional diseases such scurvy
  • Exercise regularly – prevent lifestyle diseases such as obesity
  • Get enough sleep – prevent and slow the onset of cognitive disorders.
  • Avoid harmful substances – these can increase your risk of developing mental health conditions.
  • Avoid mutagens, these are like little explosives that scrabble the DNA of your cells when you come into contact with them. Examples you would know include UV light, preserved meats and cigarettes. Avoiding these can lower your risk of developing cancer.

However, it is not enough for us to hand this information out and hope people follow our advice. For this reason we design education campaigns to raise awareness for certain diseases. This allows individuals to modulate their behaviour to save their lives! Chances are you have witnessed or even been influenced by one of these education campaigns.

Question 1 [3 marks] – check your answer here

“Explain how certain lifestyle choices can module your risk of developing certain non-communicable disorder, use examples to support your answer”

Education campaigns for non-infectious disease

Education campaigns can help prevent non-infectious diseases in a number of ways. One way is by providing information about the causes of these diseases and how to reduce the risk of developing them. For example, an education campaign could focus on the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise to prevent obesity, which is a risk factor for numerous non-infectious diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.

Another way education campaigns can help prevent non-infectious diseases is by promoting healthy behaviors and lifestyle choices. This could include encouraging people to quit smoking, which is a major risk factor for lung cancer and other respiratory diseases. It could also involve promoting the use of seatbelts and helmet safety to reduce the risk of injury and death from accidents.

To make these education campaigns more engaging, they could include interactive elements such as quizzes, games, or videos that help people learn about and understand the issues. They could also use social media platforms or other digital tools to reach a wider audience and make the information more accessible. Overall, the key to an effective education campaign is to provide clear, concise information that is easy for people to understand and act upon, while also making it engaging and enjoyable to learn.

But how do we know what to make our education campaigns about. What diseases to tackle. That is where health economics and epidemiology merge.

Question 2 [4 marks] – check your answer here

“Based on your understanding of the slip-slop-slap campaigns and the data in figure 1, Evaluate the effectiveness of the 1980 public education campaign ”


Epidemiology is the study of how diseases spread and affect populations. By understanding the patterns and risk factors for non-infectious diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, epidemiologists can identify interventions and strategies to prevent these diseases from occurring or progressing.

For example, let’s say an epidemiology study is conducted on the prevalence of obesity in a certain community. The study might find that people who live in neighborhoods with limited access to healthy food options and opportunities for physical activity are more likely to be obese. With this information, public health officials can work to improve access to healthy food options and increase funding for recreational facilities in these neighborhoods to reduce the risk of obesity.

Another way epidemiology studies can help prevent non-infectious diseases is by identifying modifiable risk factors, such as smoking, poor diet, and lack of physical activity. By understanding how these behaviors contribute to the development of certain diseases, public health officials can implement programs and policies that encourage healthy behaviors and reduce the risk of these diseases.

Overall, epidemiology plays a crucial role in understanding and preventing non-infectious diseases. By identifying patterns and risk factors, we can take proactive steps to improve the health of our communities and reduce the burden of these diseases on our society.

Question 3 [2 marks] – check your answer here

“Define epidemiology using an example to illustrate it’s value to public health ”

Lung Cancer

Preventing lung cancer is essential for improving public health and reducing the burden of this deadly disease. There are several ways in which prevention can help lower the incidence of lung cancer, including:

  1. Quitting smoking: Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer and quitting can significantly reduce the risk of developing this disease.
  2. Reducing exposure to secondhand smoke: Being exposed to secondhand smoke can increase the risk of lung cancer, so it is important to avoid places where smoking is allowed and to make sure your home and car are smoke-free.
  3. Protecting yourself from air pollution: Air pollution has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer, so it is important to take steps to protect yourself, such as staying indoors on days with high air pollution levels and using air purifiers in your home.
  4. Eating a healthy diet: A diet rich in fruits and vegetables may help lower the risk of lung cancer.
  5. Getting vaccinated: The pneumococcal vaccine can help prevent pneumonia, which can increase the risk of lung cancer.

Additionally, providing education around foods and supplements to avoid if someone is still smoking helps. For example, it is recommended for people to avoid calcium tablets whilst smoking.

By taking these steps, we can all play a role in preventing lung cancer and improving the health of our communities.

Question 4 [2 marks] – check your answer here

“You are a GP and your patient comes forward with concerns for them developing lung cancer. They explain they are anxious due to a family history of the condition and their challenge in quitting smoking. Outline some strategies you would recommend for the patient ”


Figure 1. Deaths per 100,000 people due to melanoma through 1950 to 2020

The Slip Slop Slap campaign has been highly effective in lowering the incidence of melanoma in Australia. The campaign, which was launched in the 1980s, promotes the use of sunscreen, protective clothing, and hats to protect against the harmful effects of the sun.

One of the key reasons for the success of the Slip Slop Slap campaign is its use of engaging and memorable slogans, such as “Slip on a shirt, Slop on sunscreen, Slap on a hat.” These catchy phrases have helped to drive home the message about the importance of sun protection in an easy-to-remember way.

The campaign has also made use of a variety of mediums to reach a wide audience, including television and radio commercials, billboards, and social media. This has allowed the message to reach a diverse range of people, including children, teenagers, and adults.

Divergent thinking Question – check a sample answer here

“What are some non-infectious diseases that you feel don’t receive enough educational coverage”

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Question 1.

Certain lifestyle choices, such as diet, physical activity, and smoking, can significantly impact a person’s risk of developing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.

For example, a diet high in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium can increase a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help to lower the risk.

Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for NCDs. Regular physical activity can help to lower the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers, as well as improve mental health and overall well-being.

Smoking is a leading cause of preventable death globally and is a major risk factor for a number of NCDs, including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cardiovascular disease. Quitting smoking can significantly reduce the risk of these diseases.

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