Preventable deaths could drop by 37 million if simple diet and lifestyle changes were made – Part 2

This is the “delay or prevention” of more than 37 million deaths.

-       16 million in people ages 30 to 69

-       21 million in those 70 or older

The greatest benefits would simply come from reducing smoking and lessening the burden of high blood pressure (both are diet and lifestyle choices).  Sadly, even with these incredible reductions, the current numbers of deaths from the four main NCDs is expected to go from 28.3 million in 2010 to 38.8 million in 2025...

Simple solutions?

  1. Ban cigarettes
  2. Promote a healthy, balanced, plant-based wholefood diet

“These are remarkable potential health gains in view of the highly cost-effective interventions available, which could be readily scaled up in all countries.  But despite robust evidence, well-proven cost-effective interventions, and a compelling case for action made by [the researchers] to address risk factors for NCDs to save millions of lives, political apathy prevails.  Such apathy is shown in the unacceptably low levels of overseas assistance for health allocated for NCDs, which in 2011 was a paltry $377 million, out of a total of about $31 billion of development assistance for health in 2011, despite NCDs accounting for 50% of the disease burden in low-income and middle-income countries.  Thus, the NCD issue is more a political than a technical one…  The World Health Assembly and the United Nations have the opportunity to drive for coordinated global action and establish independent global and national accountability mechanisms to tackle NCDs.  The moment for decisive action has come”
Rifat Atun, MBBS, MBA, of the Harvard School of Public Health, May 2014.

Stemming from a 2011 declaration from the United Nations General Assembly, countries have begun working toward specific targets for certain risk factors.  In this current study, the researchers estimated the potential impact of meeting these targets for six of the risk factors:

  1. Tobacco smoking (30% relative reduction in prevalence)
  2. Alcohol use (10% reduction in per-person consumption)
  3. Salt intake (30% reduction in average population intake)
  4. Obesity (stop the rise in prevalence)
  5. Blood Pressure (25% reduction in the prevalence of high blood pressure)
  6. Blood glucose and diabetes (stop the rise in the prevalence of diabetes)

“The World Heart Federation applauds this focus on risk factors to prevent tens of millions of deaths.  We are especially supportive of the ambitious tobacco reduction goal and have prioritized WHO’s tobacco, hypertension, and secondary prevention targets…”
Dr K. Srinath Reddy, MD, DM, President of the World Heart Federation (WHF), May 2014.

Study by Kontis V, et al “Contribution of six risk factors to achieving the 25x25 non-communicable disease mortality reduction target: a modeling study” as published in the Lancet 2014; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60616-4.  Also; study by Atun R “Decisive action to end apathy and achieve 25x25 NCD targets” as published by the Lancet 2014; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60616-4.  Also; study by Yoon P, et al “Potentially preventable deaths from the five leading causes of death - United States, 2008-2010” as published by Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2014; 63: 369-374.  Four of the authors are WHO staff members.  As reported by MedPage Today on May 4, 2014.


Posted: Monday 12 May 2014