Diet-Sensitive Chronic Diseases are Top Global Killers

Shaoni Bhattacharya of the news service passes along news of a major new report of the World Health Organization, which says chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are causing far more deaths around the globe than all other causes combined.

By the end of 2005, twice as many people will have died from chronic diseases as from all infectious diseases, starvation and pregnancy and birth complications combined, international experts have warned.

The "neglected epidemic" of chronic disease will take 35 million lives in 2005, out of the total 58 million who will die globally. And contrary to popular belief, most of the deaths - 80% - from chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer will be in low to middle-income countries.

The two factors behind this epidemic are smoking and obesity, says Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, in a commentary accompanying four studies published on Wednesday. "These risks and the diseases they engender are not the exclusive preserve of rich nations."

If action is taken now, 36 million lives could be saved by 2015, says a major World Health Organization (WHO) report on chronic diseases also published on Wednesday.

If you poke around a bit, you'll see that Dr. Fuhrman has had a lot of success treating and preventing these exact same chronic diseases with a healthy diet. This "silent epidemic" is a terrible thing. The only good news: as the WHO acknowledges, we already have the knowledge we need to reverse the epidemic. It's just a question of spreading the word and putting what we know into practice.