The authors of the four papers published online by The Lancet are calling for the 2% annual decrease in mortality to be set as a global goal for the international community. The target is based on the achievements of several countries that have implemented effective interventions to prevent chronic diseases. The series aims to fill a gap in the global dialogue about disease. Its publication coincides with the release of a global report on chronic diseases by the World Health Organization.

The first paper in the series reveals that, globally, around 58 million people will die in 2005; 35million of these deaths will be from chronic diseases. The authors calculate that in 2015 these figures will rise to 64 million and 41 million, respectively. They estimate that reducing these deaths by an additional 2% annually would result in around 36 million fewer chronic disease deaths between 2005 and 2015 worldwide.

Studies suggest that at least 80% of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and 40% of cancer could be avoided through healthy diet, regular physical activity, and avoidance of tobacco use.

In the second paper, the authors outline a novel public health approach that can be used to reduce the burden of chronic diseases in low-income and middle-income countries. The stepwise framework takes in account the limited resources and the double burden of infectious and chronic diseases that exists in many low and middle-income countries.

The third paper in the series looks at the situation in India, where chronic diseases are estimated to account for 53% of all deaths. The paper outlines the actions that need to be taken to curb the rising burden of chronic disease in India.

The final paper in the series focuses on the prevention of chronic diseases in China, where 300 million men smoke cigarettes, 160million adults have high-blood pressure, and an obesity epidemic is imminent.

MEDICA.de; Source: The Lancet