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NCDs Responsible For Majority Of Deaths Worldwide And Cost Trillions, Report Says

Nearly two-thirds of deaths worldwide are caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart and lung disease, cancer, and diabetes, which are increasingly prevalent and cost the global economy trillions of dollars, according to a U.N. report and preliminary results from a new study announced Monday at a press conference to preview the September U.N. High Level Meeting on NCDs, the Associated Press/MSNBC.com reports.

A report from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, originally released in May and circulated on Monday, said that “36 million people died from non-communicable diseases in 2008, representing 63 percent of the 57 million global deaths that year. Nearly 80 percent of deaths from these diseases were in the developing world, and 9 million deaths were of men and women under the age of 60, it said,” the news service writes.

David Bloom of the Harvard School of Public Health, who is leading a project examining the global economic burden of NCDs, “said preliminary results indicate that the substantial economic burden caused by these diseases today ‘will evolve into a staggering economic burden over the next two decades’ that could have a huge impact on economic development and fighting poverty,” according to the Associated Press/MSNBC.com (Lederer, 6/20).

“Bloom said treating newly diagnosed cancer cases cost $300 billion globally in 2010” and that the “global decline in productivity due to illness and deaths from non-communicable diseases will reach $35 trillion by 2030 … an amount seven times larger than the current level of global health spending,” Bloomberg writes (Renick, 6/20).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.