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Worldwide Burden of Chronic Disease Targeted

Major gains are possible with modest financial costs, experts report

THURSDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Experts address the worldwide chronic disease epidemic in a series of articles published online Dec. 5 in The Lancet. The authors review the burden of chronic disease in developing countries and discuss cost-effective strategies to mitigate this burden in keeping with the World Health Organization's (WHO) global goal of reducing chronic disease mortality by 2 percent over the next decade.

Dele O. Abegunde, of the WHO in Geneva, Switzerland, and colleagues report that in the 23 countries studied, roughly half the disease burden is due to chronic disease. At the present rate, an estimated U.S.$84 billion of economic production will be lost due to the toll of heart disease, stroke and diabetes alone in the next decade.

In a second article, Thomas A. Gaziano, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues review the efficacy and affordability of interventions to reduce chronic disease mortality in developing countries. They report that efforts targeting salt reduction, tobacco control and a multi-drug regimen for prevention of cardiovascular disease have strong data supporting their cost-effectiveness in developing countries.

Finally, Robert Beaglehole, of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues call for a worldwide effort to respond to the chronic disease epidemic. They urge the WHO and other international development agencies, national governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and academia to unite in the achievable goal of reducing the burden of chronic disease.

"The evidence is unequivocal: major and rapid health and economic gains are possible with only modest investments in prevention and control of chronic diseases," Beaglehole and colleagues write.

Abstract - Abegunde
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Abstract - Gaziano
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Abstract - Beaglehole
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