A World Health Organization (WHO) report released earlier (September 2011) gives baseline data on all NCDs in 193 countries in order to monitor their epidemiological trends and assess the progress made by these diseases in their countries. This report indicates where each government needs to focus in order to prevent and treat the four major killers: cancer, heart disease and stroke, lung disease and diabetes. Updated report is expected in 2013.
The report includes details of what proportion of each country’s deaths is due to NCDs. In a single page per country presentation format, the report provides information on prevalence, trends in metabolic risk factors (cholesterol, blood pressure, body mass index and blood sugar) alongside data on the country's capacity to tackle the diseases.
NCDs are the top cause of death worldwide, killing more than 36 million people in 2008: Cardiovascular diseases were responsible for 48% of these deaths, cancers 21%, chronic respiratory diseases 12%, and diabetes 3%.More than nine million of all deaths attributed to NCDs occurred before the age of 60; 90% of these "premature" deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries.
One of the findings shows that men and women in low-income countries are around three times more likely to die of NCDs before the age of sixty than in high-income countries. According to these estimates, the proportion of men dying under the age of 60 from NCDs can be as high as 67%. Among women under 60, the highest proportion was 58%.The lowest rates of mortality from NCDs for men under 60 were 8% and for women under 60, it was 6%.
High risk factors like smoking and exercise are important. The profiles report on the proportion of people who smoke and are physically inactive. They also indicate trends for four factors that increase people's risk of developing these diseases, blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index and blood sugar over the past 30 years.
In the United States of America, for example, 87% of all deaths are due to NCDs. 16% of the population smokes and 43% are physically inactive. On average, blood pressure has decreased since 1980; body mass index has increased; and glucose levels have risen.
Overall, the trends indicate that in many high income countries, action to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol is having an impact, but there is a need to do more on body mass index and managing diabetes.
Based on data from the report, India’s capacity to address and respond to NCDs need concerted action in order to contain impact of NCDs . A national Cancer Registry, specific policy framework for chronic respiratory diseases, and implementation of tobacco Power Measures are areas that need greater focus. In India, NCDs account for 53% of all deaths: Cardiovascular diseases, 24%; Cancers 6%; Respiratory Diseases 11%; diabetes 2%, other NCDs 10%.
(Source: WHO-Country profile, 2011)