News / Africa

Non-Communicable Diseases Cause Most Deaths Worldwide

A doctor from an international cardiac mission examines the x-ray of a patient's heart in the Degand Clinic in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, April 15, 2012.
A doctor from an international cardiac mission examines the x-ray of a patient's heart in the Degand Clinic in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, April 15, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Lisa Schlein
GENEVA - The World Health Organization reports almost two-thirds of all global deaths are due to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases. The World Health Statistics Report provides information on the state of health in 194 countries.  

Non-communicable diseases are not just a problem of wealthy countries. The World Health Organization says they mainly affect people in poorer countries, of whom half die before they reach the age of 70. Cardiovascular diseases are the most common cause of death, followed by cancers.
   
Data from 194 countries show one in three adults worldwide has elevated blood pressure, a condition that causes around half of all deaths from stroke and heart disease. In many African countries, it notes, as much as half the adult population has high blood pressure.
 
The World Health Organization says most of these people remain undiagnosed. As a consequence, they do not get treated with low-cost medications that could prevent disability or premature death from heart disease and stroke.
 
WHO Department of Health Statistics Director Ties Boerma said preventable risk factors that cause chronic disease are common across the world.

“Of course, tobacco is very well known," said Boerma. "Hypertension is very common all around the world and it has only been declining in high-income countries - elsewhere there is really no evidence of a decline. So, these risk factors - another group, of course, physical inactivity and poor diets are also very important. But this report also highlights the obesity epidemic.”  

The report finds obesity has doubled in every region of the world between 1980 and 2008. It says one-half-billion people, 12 percent of the world’s population, are considered obese.
 
The highest obesity levels are in the Americas and the lowest in South-East Asia.  Worldwide, women are more likely to be obese than men, making them at greater risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

WHO Mortality and Burden of Disease program coordinator Colin Mathers said it is difficult to design policies and interventions to tackle obesity.
 
“Obesity is a complex interplay of lifestyle, with availability of high-density caloric foods that people like to have and we probably evolved to where we really want to pack the calories on where they are available ... less activity.  We are all sedentary, sitting around desks," added Mathers. "So, it is a very complex issue and it involves not only personal choices about whether you eat the extra pack of biscuits or not, but also environmental urban design.”  

The World Statistics Report finds nearly five million fewer children are dying from diarrhea, measles, pneumonia and other infectious diseases than in 1990.  It says maternal deaths have also declined.

The report says other advances have been made in reducing new cases of HIV infections, in cutting tuberculosis mortality by more than one-third since 1990 and in lowering malaria deaths.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid