Various countries aim to reduce premature mortality from four main non-communicable diseases (NCDs), namely – cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, cancers, and diabetes. These nations have targeted to reduce these disease incidences by 25% from 2010 levels by 2025. Majid Ezzati from Imperial College London (United Kingdom), and colleagues report that this target may be achievable by the reduction of six specific modifiable risk factors.
Using country-level data on deaths and risk factors and epidemiological models, the researchers estimate the number of deaths that could be prevented between 2010 and 2025 by reducing the burden of each of the six risk factors to globally agreed target levels – tobacco use (30% reduction and a more ambitious 50% reduction), alcohol use (10% reduction), salt intake (30% reduction), high blood pressure (25% reduction), and halting the rise in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes.
Overall, the findings suggest that meeting the targets for all six risk factors would reduce the risk of dying prematurely from the four main NCDs by 22% in men and 19% for women in 2025 compared to what they were in 2010. Worldwide, this improvement is equivalent to delaying or preventing at least 16 million deaths in people aged 30-70 years and 21 million in those aged 70 years or older over 15 years.
The authors predict that the largest benefits will come from reducing high blood pressure and tobacco use. They calculate that a more ambitious 50% reduction in prevalence of smoking by 2025, rather than the current target of 30%, would reduce the risk of dying prematurely by more than 24% in men and by 20% in women. The study investigators submit that: “If the agreed risk factor targets are met, premature mortality from the four main NCDs will decrease to levels that are close to the 25×25 target, with most of these benefits seen in low-income and middle-income countries.”
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