The work undertaken with PASSI is related to prevention policies and activities in Italy: inappropriate lifestyles today are a real health emergency because they increase the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes, that are the main causes of death and of the disease burden in the adult population.
In 2005, a report (in English) by the World Health Organisation confirmed that non-communicable chronic diseases are responsible for 86% of deaths in the European Region, with an increase of direct and indirect costs, which now account for 77% of the average health budget of European Union member States.
The Italian national and regional administrations with the Agreement of 23 March 2005 adopted the national 2005-2007 prevention Plan (in English), that included, among health priorities, the prevention of cardiovascular risk, of the complications of diabetes and road accidents, the development of oncology screening and vaccination programmes, and the fight against obesity. The National 2006-2008 health plan (in Italian) underlined that health hazards can also be prevented by setting up monitoring networks with local, regional and national nodes throughout the health system. More specifically, a need to monitor behavioural risks on a regular basis was evidenced.