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The Problem of Noncommunicable Diseases and CDC's Role in Combating Them

Facts About NCDs

  • More than 35 million people die from NCDs each year worldwide—nearly two-thirds of the world's deaths.
  • More than 80% of NCD-related deaths are in low- and middle-income countries. Nearly one-third of those deaths occur before age 60.
  • Approximately 5.4 million people die each year due to tobacco. That figure is expected to rise to more than 8 million deaths a year by 2030.
  • 1 in 10 students around the world smoke cigarettes, according to youth tobacco survey data.
  • 794 million adults—48.6% of men and 11.3% of women—currently use tobacco in 14 countries, according to Global Adult Tobacco Survey data.
  • Nearly 2 million deaths a year are attributable to diseases brought on by household smoke from unsafe cookstoves.
  • 100 million households are being targeted by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, which aims to adopt cleaner cookstove alternatives by 2020.

Global health is facing a dramatic change. For the first time in human history, more people live in urban than rural areas. More people are overweight than underweight around the world. Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease and stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung disease kill more people globally than infectious diseases. These four diseases share the common risk factors of tobacco use, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol, as well as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Worldwide, NCDs kill over 35 million people each year, representing nearly two-thirds of the world’s deaths. More than 80 percent of NCD-related deaths are in low- and middle-income countries, and nearly a third of those deaths occur before age 60.

NCDs are a growing public health emergency. NCDs cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars each year, and limit the activities of tens of millions more Americans. Low- and middle-income country economies are also set back by NCDs through increasing demands on health care systems and lost productivity.

CDC has a long history of working with partners to protect Americans and the global community from health threats. CDC has been working on global NCDs for over 20 years.

Current CDC efforts to help other countries prevent and reduce the burden of NCDs and injuries include:

  • Disease surveillance and epidemiology
  • Identifying risk factors and evidence-based prevention strategies
  • Using data to increase effective public health action
  • Increasing country capacity and skill development

Learn More:

  • Page last reviewed: September 16, 2011
  • Page last updated: September 16, 2011
  • Content source: Global Health
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