37 Million Could Be Saved Through Global Health Programs

Reaching globally-agreed targets for health risks such as smoking and alcohol can prevent more than 37 million deaths by 2025, according to new statistics.

The study, led by researchers from Imperial College London, said the health risks are caused by the “big four” illnesses: cancer, diabetes, lung disease and cardiovascular disease.

The study, published in The Lancet, found that the majority of death prevention would be in low- to middle-income nations, while the reductions for smoking and blood pressure will lead to the largest benefits.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has created targets for reductions in both premature deaths from these chronic diseases and their key risk factors like smoking, alcohol use, high blood pressure and blood glucose, obesity and salt consumption. Experts agree it’s possible to get most of the reductions in deaths from by focusing on preventable risk factors.

According to the study, the big four chronic diseases killed over 28 million people in 2010, a number that is projected to increase to 39 million in 2025 if action isn’t taken.

The study found that if the target are achieved, the risk of dying prematurely from the four illnesses would go down by 22 percent for men and 19 percent for women. This corresponds to preventing more than 37 million deaths between 2010 and 2025.

Current global targets include a 30 per cent reduction in smoking levels, a 10 per cent reduction in alcohol consumption and a 30 per cent reduction in salt in food. The research found reductions in smoking and blood pressure produced the greatest benefits.


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