One in three adults has hypertension, a condition that causes about half of all deaths from stroke and heart problems in the world, and one in ten, diabetes, said a World Health Organization (WHO) report annual health statistics.
“This report provides further evidence of the dramatic increase of the conditions that trigger heart ailments and other chronic diseases, particularly in poor and developing countries,” said WHO Director General Margaret Chan.
Chan said the worrying fact that “in some African countries, half of the adult population suffer hypertension,” which is why the WHO wants to call attention to “the growing impact of non-communicable diseases.”
For the first time the WHO’s statistical study of 194 countries includes information about high levels in men and women of blood pressure and blood glucose, which reveals, among other things, that the diagnosis and treatment of these ailments flights have reduced the problem in the first world.
The concern of the organization is that in places like Africa, where not apply these preventive measures, most people with these ailments do not know they are at “high risk of death and disability from heart attack or stroke” .
For the first time also includes information on blood glucose levels, indicating that while the average prevalence is around 10% to one third of the population in some Pacific countries suffer from this ailment.
WHO points out that if left untreated, diabetes can cause cardiovascular disease, blindness and kidney failure.
The third major concern is the overweight, because “in all regions of the world, the number of obese doubled between 1980 and 2008,” said Ties Boerma, director of the Department of Health Statistics and Information Systems, WHO .
“Today, some 500 million people (12% of world population) are considered obese,” according Boerma.
The highest level of obesity was recorded in the region of the Americas (26% of adults) and the lowest in Southeast Asia (3% of adults), a higher proportion of obese women than men, with the impact this is in risk of diabetes, heart problems and cancer.
The conclusion is that non-communicable diseases are currently the cause of two thirds of deaths in the world, so that WHO is working on a monitoring framework and a set of voluntary targets to prevent and control the problem.
The report will be one of the issues addressed in the next World Health Assembly of WHO in Geneva (between days 21 and 26 May), also will reflect the progress made.
According to WHO, since more than a decade ago established the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the UN, “has made substantial progress in reducing infant and maternal mortality due to HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. ”
Child malnutrition is the underlying cause of approximately 35% of deaths of children under 5 years, although in the case of developing countries has been some improvement between 1990 and 2010 the proportion of children in this age group who had weight lower than recommended increased from 29 to 18%.
In terms of reducing mortality among children under five years in the past two decades was reduced by 35%, from 88 deaths per thousand live births in 1990 (a total of 10 million children) to 57 per per thousand (7.6 million) in 2010.
“The reductions have been particularly impressive in deaths from diarrhea and measles,” said the organization. Especially significant is the fact about Africa, which produces half of the deaths of children under five years, since the reduction rate decreased from 1.5% (1990-2010) to 2.8% (2005-2010).
The data reduction is also important in regard to the number of maternal deaths (from 543 thousand in 1990 to 287,000 in 2010), but the WHO says that “the rate of reduction is only half what is necessary to achieve relevant objectives of the MDGs. “