The World Health Organisation (WHO) have reported that chronic illnesses, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes, are the main cause of deaths around the world. The Global Status report published by WHO found that non-communicable diseases such as diabetes accounted for over 36 million deaths in 2008, and that four fifths of these deaths occurred in low and middle income countries.
The global agency on public health claimed that chronic illnesses were now a bigger threat to lives than infectious diseases such as HIV, malaria and tuberculosis, and that many could be prevented by the introduction of national policies on healthy diets and anti-smoking legislation.
Margaret Cha, director general of WHO, said commented “The rise of chronic non-communicable diseases presents an enormous challenge.”
She added “For some countries, it is no exaggeration to describe the situation as an impending disaster; a disaster for health, for society, and most of all for national economies.”
The Global Status report also revealed that nearly 6 million people die from tobacco use every year, a number that is due to go up to 7.5 million by 2020, by which time it is expected to account for 10 per cent of all global deaths. In addition, it was claimed that 3.2 million people die every year due to a lack of exercise, more than 2.8 million die from obesity, while another 2.5 million deaths are alcohol related.

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