WHO: Non-communicable diseases underestimated – The science

A call for precaution

Cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes: Every two seconds someone under the age of 70 dies from a non-communicable disease. The World Health Organization warns that it is known what to do about it.

from dpa

Health risks of smoking: The World Health Organization (WHO) appeals for deaths from non-communicable diseases such as cancer to abstain from tobacco.

Photo: DPA / Fabian Sommer

Geneva (dpa). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases are underappreciated worldwide. The World Health Organization states that every two seconds a person under the age of 70 dies from this disease in the world.

It’s known what to do about it, said Bent Mikkelsen, head of non-communicable diseases (NCD) at the World Health Organization in Geneva. “We just have to implement interventions everywhere.” This included reducing tobacco use, eating a healthy diet, decreasing alcohol intake, getting more exercise, and improving the air.

But the World Health Organization wrote in its report that 85 percent of patients live in low- and middle-income countries. When they do get sick, they often have little prospect of proper treatment. An additional $140 billion (about €140 billion) healthcare spending by 2030 could bring these countries a net economic benefit of $2.7 trillion – in part because treated patients can return to work.

Who: Millions of lives could be saved

Non-communicable diseases cause 74 percent of all deaths worldwide. The report says that if known and effective interventions are implemented, 39 million lives could be saved worldwide by 2030 and countless more people could live longer and happier lives.

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At the same time, the World Health Organization is launching an interactive data portal through which the situation in every country in the world can be viewed. It appears that Sweden, Norway, Italy and Australia, among others, are least affected by non-communicable diseases.

Comparisons between countries are also possible. Compared to Germany, France has more problems with obesity and malnutrition, but the French are more physically active. Italy has problems with alcohol abuse but the number of cardiovascular diseases is lower than in Germany. However, the state of the data is not equally good in all countries.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220921-99-845887 / 3

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