Chronic diseases and health promotion

Part Two. The urgent need for action

Chapter One. Chronic diseases: causes and health impact


Country profiles

Deaths

The main projected causes of death in 2005 are shown for the nine selected countries in the figure below. Chronic disease death rates are higher than those from communicable diseases, maternal and perinatal conditions, and nutritional deficiencies combined, in all countries except the United Republic of Tanzania and, to a lesser extent, Nigeria.

Remarkably, in low and middle income countries the high death rates in middle-aged people are much higher than those in high income countries (see figure below). This situation is very different from that in Canada and the United Kingdom, where chronic disease deaths now predominantly occur among people in the oldest age group. The death rates in middle-aged people in the Russian Federation are four times those in Canada.

Burden

Chronic diseases are the leading cause of the burden of disease in all countries except Nigeria and the United Republic of Tanzania.

Summary

Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disease burden worldwide, in all WHO regions except Africa, and in all of the selected countries except Nigeria and the United Republic of Tanzania. Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death in all World Bank income groups. The death and burden of disease rates are similar in men and women and increase with age. Among the selected countries, chronic disease death rates are higher in low and middle income countries than in high income countries. Some 45% of chronic disease deaths and 86% of the burden of chronic diseases occur in people under 70 years of age.

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