Heart disease, smoking and alcohol are the biggest global killers now

Heart disease, smoking and alcohol are the biggest global killers now

This is the brand new, up to date global health figures covering the last 20 years. 

Sadly the figures are even worse than the 2009 figures which are hard to comprehend given they were the highest ‘preventable death’ numbers in history…

“Overall we’re seeing a growing burden of risk factors that lead to chronic diseases in adults, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes and a decreasing burden for risks associated with infectious diseases in children.  To bring down the burden of high blood pressure, we need to regulate the salt content of [processed] food and provide easier access to fresh fruits and vegetables…”
Professor Majid Ezzati of the School of Public Health at Imperial College London.

What are the latest sobering global disease numbers?

  • High blood pressure is the #1 cause of death worldwide; killing over 9 million people every year
  • Almost 78 million adults have high blood pressure which is now the biggest global risk factor for disease and early death
  • Preventable, non-communicable causes account for around 70% of all global deaths
  • Smoking is the #2 cause of death worldwide
  • Cigarette smoking causes over 6 million deaths per year; much of this second-hand and third-hand smoke exposure, killing innocent      non-smokers
  • Alcohol is the #3 cause of death worldwide (yes, more than world hunger)
  • Alcohol accounts for 5 million deaths per year – and growing
  • Alcohol is the #1 cause of death in Eastern Europe, most of Latin America and southern sub-Saharan Africa
  • A poor diet, lack of fruits and vegetables is the #4 cause of death worldwide
  • A poor diet, lack of fruits and vegetables accounts for almost 5 million deaths per year – and growing
  • The most prominent dietary risks are “too much processed food” and “not enough fruits and vegetables”
  • More than 3 times as many people die now from excessive weight than from malnutrition
  • Obesity rates have increased 82% worldwide over the past 20 years
  • Obesity is now a problem in all countries and all continents except sub-Saharan Africa
  • The years of life lost from obesity outnumber those lost by hunger
  • In 1990 the most deaths were caused by malnutrition, household pollution and cigarette smoking
  • Now they are high blood pressure, cigarette smoking and alcohol
  • Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) are a measure of years lost due to death, disability, or poor health      
  • More than 50% of theglobal DALYs are now due to non-communicable causes
  • Over 2,000 Americans die every single day from cardiovascular disease
  • 32 million adults have high cholesterol, another precursor to cardiovascular disease

Numbers taken directly from The 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study as published in the British medical journal, The Lancet, and the 2010 Heart and Stroke Statistics report as published by the American Heart Association and the World Health Organisation.  These two reports compile information from an international consortium of nearly 500 scientists from 187 countries globally including institutions such as the Harvard School of Public Health.  This is the most in-depth global health information available until the next update in December 2013.  It covers the period from 1990-2010.  As reported on December 14, 2012 by P.J. Skerrett, Managing Editor, Harvard Health.


Posted: Wednesday 15 May 2013