More People Die of Non-communicable Diseases, Says Report

10 Jan 2013

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Jim Yong Kim, World Bank President

The World Heart Federation (WHF) has said that its recently released Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study indicated that more people die of non-communicable diseases than infectious diseases.

According to the report fewer children are now known to be dying from infectious diseases and less illness than they did 20 years ago.
The report says fewer children are dying every year but more young and middle-aged adults are dying and suffering from disease and injury as non-communicable diseases such as cancer and heart disease become the dominant causes of death and disability worldwide.

It states that since 1970 men and women worldwide have gained slightly more than 10 years of life expectancy overall but they spend more years living with injury and illness. The study is described by Lancet Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Richard Horton as “a critical contribution to our understanding of present and future health priorities for countries and the global community.”

GBD 2010 consists of seven articles, each containing a wealth of data on different aspects of the study (including data for different countries and world regions, men and women and different age groups), while accompanying comments include reactions to the study’s publication from World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General, Margaret Chan and World Bank President , Jim Yong Kim. The American Heart Association’s “Heart Disease and Stroke Statistical Update 2013” which was released on December 12, 2012, noted that “poor eating and exercise habits could be the game-changer in the fight against heart disease and stroke deaths.”

According to chairman of the report’s writing committee and chief of the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Conditions section, Alan Go, “people need to move a lot more, eat healthier and less and manage risk factors as soon as they develop. If not, we’ll quickly lose the momentum we’ve gained in reducing heart attack and stroke rates and improving survival over the last few decades.”

The association reported that between 1999 and 2009, the rate of deaths from cardiovascular disease fell 32.7 per cent in the US but still accounted for almost one in three deaths. The writing committee, however, using data from a study, projected that heart health may only improve by six per cent by 2020 if current trends continue. The biggest barriers to success are projected increases in obesity and diabetes, and only modest improvements in diet and physical activity. These would mostly offset the anticipated declines in prevalence of smoking, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Tags: Health, Featured, Non-communicable Diseases

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