The four diseases responsible for majority of human deaths

Researchers say more than half of all UN countries will miss targets on cutting premature deaths from quartet of killers


Seven out of ten deaths worldwide are caused by just four non-communicable diseases (NCDs), a major new study has found.

Cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes killed a global total of 12.5 million people aged 30 to 70 in 2016 alone, according to the researchers.

Their report, entitled NCD Countdown 2030, has been published in The Lancet and is a collaboration between the medical journal, the World Health Organization (WHO), Imperial College London and the NCD Alliance.

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The findings have been released ahead of next week’s United Nations High-Level Meeting on NCDs, “which will review national and global progress towards the prevention and control of NCDs”, Health24 reports.

The study shows that more than half of all UN countries are predicted to fail to reach the organisation’s target to reduce premature deaths from the four major NCDs by 2030. Premature death is commonly defined as before the age of 70.

Only 35 will achieve the goal of reducing premature deaths for women, and just 30 will do so for men by 2030, the researchers predict.

The countries expected to achieve the goal for women are: South Korea, Singapore, Luxembourg, Norway, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Denmark, Estonia, the Czech Republic, the Maldives, Thailand, Croatia, Slovakia, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Qatar, Iran, Latvia, Belarus, Serbia, Kuwait, Samoa, Armenia, Macedonia, Oman, Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine, Zambia, the Republic of the Congo, Grenada, Timor-Leste, Moldova and Kazakhstan.

Those on target for cutting premature deaths in men are: Iceland, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Bahrain, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Singapore, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Iran, the Maldives, Argentina, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Timor-Leste, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia, Estonia, Macedonia, Latvia, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan.

The UK is unlikely to hit the targets for either sex.

The Sustainable Development Goals were signed by all 193 member states of the United Nations in 2015 and are “a blueprint for achieving global well-being”, reports CNN. The plan is divided into 17 aims, including “no poverty”, “zero hunger”, and “quality education” in addition to “good health and well-being”.

“They are aspirations, or commitments, agreed upon by the global community to have better, healthier, more positive lives for everyone, today and in the future,” said Professor Majid Ezzati, senior author of the new report and chair of global environmental health at Imperial College London.

He added: “The bottom line is this: a set of commitments were made, and most countries are not going to meet them.”

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