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Posted By Geraldine Carroll, Project HOPE Media Relations Specialist on September 20, 2011

Labels: China, India, Mexico, South Africa , Chronic Disease, Global Health Expertise, Health Care Education

A new study just released by the World Economic Forum warns that the global costs of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), dubbed a “tsunami of the 21st Century," will total USD $47 trillion by 2030.   

The staggering cost will deliver a wake-up call at the first-ever high level United Nations meeting on NCDs, where world leaders will sign a declaration recognizing the global epidemic and calling for international plans to combat it.  

The declaration highlights four leading chronic diseases: diabetes, heart disease, cancer and chronic respiratory disease. These NCDs cause more than 60% of deaths worldwide every year, killing 36 million people in both developed and developing nations.  

NGOs like Project HOPE are warning people in China, India, South Africa and the Americas that NCDs can be prevented – and even controlled – by adopting healthier diets, increasing physical activity and curbing intake of tobacco and alcohol.  

The new study also shows that “families, countries and economies are losing people in their most productive years” and NCDs “have the potential to not only bankrupt health but to also put a brake on the global economy.”

In China, for example, there are 300 million smokers and 30 per cent of people are overweight or obese – figures projected to more than double over the next two decades. 

India is the world’s diabetes capital: over 50 million people have diabetes as the nation’s drive for economic growth has produced sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy diets and a massive strain on the public health system.  

Civil society groups are calling for strategies that will mobilize the public, as everyone in the world is affected by NCDs – either directly or indirectly.

Four international organizations (International Diabetes Federation, World Heart Federation, Union for International Cancer Control and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease) are calling for action to confront this “Tsunami of the 21st Century.”

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