Chronic diseases and health promotion

Overview - Preventing chronic diseases: a vital investment

The global goal for 2015

Preventing chronic diseases: the global goal for 2015

Encouraged by achievements in countries such as Australia, Canada, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States, this report anticipates more such gains in the years ahead. But realistically, how much is possible by the year 2015? After carefully weighing all the available evidence, the report offers the health community a new global goal: to reduce death rates from all chronic diseases by 2% per year over and above existing trends during the next 10 years.

This bold goal is thus in addition to the declines in age-specific death rates already projected for many chronic diseases, and would result in the prevention of 36 million chronic disease deaths by 2015, most of these being in low- and middle-income countries. Achievement of the global goal would also result in appreciable economic dividends for countries.

Every death averted is a bonus, but the goal contains an additional positive feature: almost half of these averted deaths would be in men and women under 70 years of age and almost nine out of 10 of these would be in low and middle income countries. Extending these lives for the benefit of the individuals concerned, their families and communities is in itself the worthiest of goals.

This global goal is ambitious and adventurous, but it is neither extravagant nor unrealistic. The means to achieve it, based on evidence and best practices from countries that have made improvements, are outlined in Parts Three and Four of this report.

36 000 000 lives can be saved

Estimated global deaths averted under the global goal scenario