Non-communicable diseases take heavier toll in developing countries

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Girls exercising. WHO/SEARO/V. Gupta-Smith

A large proportion of the 16 million people who die from non-communicable diseases each year before the age of 70 are in low and middle income countries.

That's according to a report on non-communicable diseases, also known as NCDs released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday.

The most common NCDs are cardio-vascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory illnesses and diabetes.

The four major risk factors for the diseases are tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity and unhealthy diet.

The lead author of the report is Dr Shanthi Mendes

"We are losing 16 million people every year in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, not in their 80s' and 90s and we are losing 38 million from NCDs overall every year. Most importantly, out of the 16 million people who died under the age of 70 who are in their productive years, 82 per cent are in low and middle income countries which don't have the capacity to address them unless they know how to do it." (29")

Dr Mendes described non-communicable diseases as "a slow motion public health disaster rapidly gaining speed and momentum in a frightening manner."

She said urgent action is required from governments and all non-state partners because the NCD epidemic poses a much greater public health threat than any other known to humankind.

Derrick Mbatha.United Nations

Duration: 1’43″


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