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  • World Health World Disease

    The world health organization has a global perspective on human diseases. They track world health closely and report data at regular intervals. Who is active in coordinating responses to emerging infection epidemics. The organization is mis-named; it should be called World Disease Organization. The following summary was developed from the World Health (Disease) Report 2002:

    “The world is living dangerously – either because it has little choice, which is often the case among the poor, or because it is making the wrong choices in terms of its consumption and its activities. Indeed, there is evidence that these risk factors are part of a “risk transition” showing marked changes in patterns of living in many parts of the world. In many developing countries rapid increases in body weight are being recorded, particularly among children, adolescents and young adults. Obesity rates have risen threefold or even more in some parts of North America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific Islands, Australasia and China since 1980. Changes in food processing and production and in agricultural and trade policies have affected the daily diet of hundreds of millions of people…Eating fruit and vegetables can help prevent cardiovascular diseases and some cancers, low intake of them as part of diet is responsible for almost three million deaths a year from those diseases. At the same time, changes in living and working patterns have led to less physical activity and less physical labor. Physical inactivity causes about 15% of some cancers, diabetes and heart disease.”

  • iThe report found that there are 170 million children in poor countries who are underweight and over three million of them die each year as a result. There are more than one billion adults worldwide who are overweight and at least 300 million who are obese. Among these, about half a million people in North America and Western Europe die from obesity-related diseases every year. These factors are increasing in most countries.

    Malnutrition remains the leading cause of disease burden among hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people and a major cause of death, especially among young children. All ages are at risk, but underweight is most prevalent among children under five years of age, and WHO estimates that approximately 27% of children in this age group are underweight. This caused an estimated 3.4 million deaths in 2000, including about 1.8 million in Africa and 1.2 million in countries in Asia. It was a contributing factor in 60% of all child deaths in developing countries.

    Iron deficiency is one of the most prevalent nutrient deficiencies in the world, affecting an estimated two billion people, and causing almost a million deaths a year. Young children and their mothers are the most commonly and severely affected because of the high iron demands of infant growth and pregnancy. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of acquired blindness in children. Iodine deficiency is probably the single most preventable cause of mental retardation and brain damage. Zinc deficiency causes short stature, impaired immune function and other disorders and is a significant cause of respiratory infections, malaria and diarrheal disease.

    High blood pressure and high blood cholesterol are closely related to excessive consumption of fatty, sugary and salty foods. They become even more lethal when combined with tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption… tobacco smoking caused an estimated 4.9 million deaths in the year 2000, one million more than 1990, with the increase being most marked in developing countries.

    Global alcohol consumption has increased mostly in developing countries. Worldwide, alcohol caused 1.8 million deaths, equal to 4% of the global disease burden; the proportion was greatest in the Americas and Europe. Alcohol was estimated to cause, worldwide, 20–30% of esophageal cancer, liver disease, epilepsy, motor vehicle accidents, and homicide and other intentional injuries.

    The WHO 2012 report summary:

    Mortality and burden of disease from unhealthy environments: In 2012, 12.6 million people died as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment, representing 23% of all deaths. When accounting for both death and disability, the fraction of the global burden of disease due to the environment is 22%. In children under five years, up to 26% of all deaths could be prevented, if environmental risks were removed. 68% of these attributable deaths and 56% of attributable DALYs could be estimated with evidence-based comparative risk assessment methods, the impacts of other environmental exposures were assessed through expert opinion.

    Progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been remarkable, including, for instance, poverty reduction, education improvements and increased access to safe drinking water. Globally, the HIV, tuberculosis and malaria epidemics were “turned around”, and child mortality and maternal mortality decreased greatly (53% and 44%, respectively, since 1990) despite falling short of the MDG targets. The SDGs set a new health goal (“Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages”) with a broad set of targets for 2030. The target on universal health coverage (UHC) provides the platform for integrated action across all 13 health targets.

    WHO publishes a bulletin of ongoing disease concerns.

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