Population and life expectancy
- The world population reached 5.8 billion in mid-1996, an increase of more than 80 million over the previous 12 months; in 1990 the increase was 87 million.
- Between 1980 and 1995, life expectancy at birth has increased globally by 4.6 years; 4.4 years for males and 4.9 years for females.
- There are now 380 million people aged 65 years and above. By the year 2020, the over-65 population is projected to increase globally by 82%, to more than 690 million.
- For every baby born today in an industrialized country, there are 10 people aged 65 or over. By the year 2020 there will be 15 such elderly persons for each newborn. In developing countries, the ratio today is 2 people over 65 for every newborn, and 4 for every newborn by 2020.
- Life expectancy at birth was 48 years in 1955; 59 years in 1975; and 65 years in 1995.
- In 1960, most deaths were among people under 50. Today, most are among the over-50s.
- By 2025, more than 60% of all deaths will be among the over-65s, and more than 40% among over-75s.
Infant and child health
- Deaths among children under 5 years declined from 19 million in 1960 to 11 million in 1996.
- About 5 million babies born in developing countries in 1995 died in the first month of life.
- Of some 140 million births a year, about 4 million babies are born with major congenital anomalies.
- Coverage of children immunized against six major childhood diseases increased from 5% in 1974 to 80% in 1995.
Causes of death
- Of over 52 million deaths in 1996, over 17 million were due to infectious or parasitic diseases; more than 15 million to circulatory diseases; over 6 million to cancers; and about 3 million to respiratory diseases.
- Of over 52 million deaths in 1996, 40 million were in developing countries, including almost 9 million in the least developed countries.
- Infectious and parasitic diseases accounted for 43% of the 40 million deaths in developing countries; almost 40% were due to chronic diseases such as circulatory diseases, cancers and respiratory diseases.
- The leading killer among infectious diseases in 1996 was acute lower respiratory infection, which killed 3.9 million people.
- Tuberculosis killed 3 million people in 1996.
- Diarrhoeal diseases killed 2.5 million people in 1996.
- Malaria killed between 1.5 million and 2.7 million people in 1996.
- About 1.5 million people died of HIV/AIDS in 1996.
- By the end of 1996, a cumulative total of 29.4 million children and adults had been infected with HIV.
- Worldwide, 75-85% of HIV infections in adults have been transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse, with heterosexual intercourse accounting for more than 70%.
- Leprosy registered prevalence cases fell from 2.3 to 1.7 per 10 000 population between 1995-96, and the problem has been reduced by 82% worldwide in the last 11 years.
- The Onchocerciasis Control Programme which began in West Africa in 1974 has now protected an estimated 36 million people from the disease.
- More than 120 million children under 5 in India were immunized against poliomyelitis in a single day in 1996.
- Field trials in Africa in 1996 showed that insecticide-treated bed nets can reduce childhood deaths from malaria by up to 35%.
- Of over 15 million deaths due to circulatory diseases, 7.2 million were caused by coronary heart disease, 4.6 million by stroke, 500 000 by rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, and 3 million by other forms of heart disease.
- Tobacco is calculated to cause 3 million deaths a year mainly from lung cancer and circulatory diseases.
- An estimated 691 million people have high blood pressure.
- The number of people suffering from diabetes worldwide is projected to more than double from about 135 million now to 300 million by 2025. The rise in cases will approach 200% in developing countries and be in the order of 45% in developed countries.
- About half of the more than 6 million deaths from cancer in 1996 were due to cancers of the lung, stomach, colon-rectum, liver and breast.
- Lung cancer killed 989 000 people in 1996 and there were an estimated 1.32 million new cases.
- Stomach cancer killed 776 000 people in 1996.
- Colorectal cancer killed 495 000 people in 1996.
- Liver cancer killed 386 000 people in 1996.
- Breast cancer killed 376 000 women in 1996.
- Worldwide, about 85% of lung cancers in men and 46% in women are tobacco-related.
- Smoking accounts for one in 7 cancer deaths worldwide.
- In 1996 there were an estimated 17.9 million persons with cancer surviving up to 5 years after diagnosis. Of these, 10.5 million were women, 5.3 million of whom had cancer either of the breast, cervix or colon-rectum.
- The sexually-transmitted human papilloma virus is found in more than 95% of cervical cancer cases. A vaccine against the virus is being developed.
- At least 15% of all cancers worldwide are a consequence of chronic infectious disease, the most important being hepatitis B and C viruses (liver cancer); the human papilloma virus (cervical cancer) and the Helicobacter pylori bacterium (stomach cancer).
- More than 40 million people suffer from different types of epilepsy.
- An estimated 29 million people suffer from dementia; 200 000 died of it in 1996, and there were 2.6 million new cases.
- An estimated 45 million people are affected by schizophrenia. There were 4.5 million new cases of schizophrenia and other delusional disorders last year.
- An estimated 28 million people worldwide incur significant health risks by using psychoactive substances other than alcohol, tobacco and volatile solvents.
- Occupational accidents account for more than 120 million injuries and at least 220 000 deaths a year.
- There are about 160 million cases a year of occupational diseases, of which 30-40% may lead to chronic disease and 10% to permanent work disability.
- Only 5-10% of workers in developing countries, and 20-50% in industrialized countries, have access to adequate occupational health services.
- Up to 40% of people over 70 suffer osteoarthritis of the knee.
- Almost 80% of patients with osteoarthritis have some degree of limitation of movement and 25% cannot perform their major daily activities of life.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is estimated to affect 165 million people.