The first World Health Organisation (WHO) global status report on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) was launched on Wednesday in Moscow. The report revealed that in 2008, 36.1 million people died due to heart disease, stroke, chronic lung disease, cancer and diabetes, putting NCDs on the top of the list of killer diseases. In India, 5,241,400 people (2,967,600 men and 2,273,800 women) died in 2008 due to NCDs.
According to the report, the leading causes of NCD deaths in 2008 were cardiovascular disease (17 million or 48 per cent), cancer (7.6 million or 21 per cent), and respiratory disease (4.2 million). Diabetes caused 1.3 million deaths. These groups of diseases share four common risk factors: tobacco use, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol, poor diet.
The report found that 6 million people die due to tobacco use every year — both directly and indirectly. By 2020, this will rise to 7.5 million. Also, 3.2 million people die each year as a result of physical inactivity, 2.8 million as a result of being overweight, 2.5 million as a result of excess drinking.