Hypertension, obesity and diabetes the next threat to public health

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The threat posed by noncommunicable diseases to public health worldwide is far greater than had been previously estimated, according to the World Health Organization(WHO).

WHO Director General Dr Margaret Chan says the growing prevalence of obesity is a warning signal that bigger health problems could be on the way.

Speaking in Geneva, Dr Chan said public health long geared towards the prevention and control of infectious diseases, needs to pay greater attention to chronic noncommunicable diseases.

"The impact of NCDs comes in waves. What we are seeing now in much of the developing world is a first wave. This is marked by growing numbers of people with raised blood pressure, raised cholesterol, and the early stages of diabetes.The second wave, which is yet to come, will be much more horrific. Of the estimated 346 million people worldwide who suffer from diabetes, more than half are unaware of their disease status. For many of these people, the first contact with the health services will come when they start to go blind, need a limb amputation, experience renal failure, or have a heart attack."

Dr Chan said failure by governments to adequately finance and implement workable policies in public health is a major cause of socio inequality and has the potential to undermine national security and even topple governments.

Duration 52"

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