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WHO Releases World Health Statistics 2012 With First-Time Data On Blood Pressure, Diabetes

The WHO on Wednesday released its World Health Statistics 2012 report, which “for the first time includes a look at blood pressure and glucose levels, two of the risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” according to the Associated Press/Washington Post (5/16). The “data showed one in three adults worldwide has raised blood pressure — the cause of around half of all deaths from stroke and heart disease — and the condition affects almost half the adult population in some countries in Africa,” Reuters writes (Kelland, 5/16). “One in 10 people are estimated to have diabetes, rising to up to one third in Pacific Island countries,” Agence France-Presse notes (5/16). According to Reuters, “Obesity is another major issue, the WHO said, with data showing rates of obesity doubling in every region of the world between 1980 and 2008” (5/16). “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,” WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said, the news agency reports (5/16).

However, Ties Boerma, director of WHO’s health statistics department, “cited ‘major progress’ in fighting infectious diseases and malnutrition, as the proportion of children in developing countries who were underweight has declined to 18 percent in 2010 from 29 percent in 1990,” according to the AP. In addition, the “number of women who died during childbirth declined 47 percent over the same period to 287,000 deaths in 2010, down from 543,000 in 1990,” and the “mortality rate among children declined 35 percent between 1990 and 2010,” the news agency notes (5/16). According to AFP, “The World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, will meet in Geneva from May 21-26, where members will discuss new targets on cutting the cases of heart and lung disease, diabetes, and cancer” (5/16).

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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.