The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a warning about the rise in chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as high blood pressure and obesity, based on new data about how they are becoming more widespread.
The annual report, published by the United Nations, showed that these diseases are moving rapidly from developed nations to poorer areas such as Africa due to changing lifestyles, more people smoking and taking less exercise, and changing dietary habits. A third of adults around the world were found to have high blood pressure, which results in about a half of all deaths from heart disease and stroke, and that it also affects nearly half the adult population in some parts of Africa.
The new data on global health trends also revealed that about one in 10 adults suffer from diabetes, while up to a third of adults in some countries in the Pacific have also developed the metabolic condition. It was reported that nearly 80 per cent of deaths from chronic illnesses happen in nations in the low- to middle-income bracket. Women are more likely to be obese than men, making them at a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
Margaret Cha, director general of WHO, said “This report is further evidence of the dramatic increase in the conditions that trigger heart disease and other chronic illnesses, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.”

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