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Global Toll of 'Non-Communicable Diseases' -- $47 Trillion by 2030
Date:9/19/2011

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Unless current health trends are reversed, five common, non-infectious diseases -- cancer, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and mental health problems -- will cost the world $47 million in treatment costs and lost wages.

That's the conclusion of a new report, "The Global Economic Burden of Non-communicable Diseases," released by the World Economic Forum before the start Monday of a two-day United Nations summit on non-communicable diseases, CBS News reported.

"Until now, we've been unable to put a figure on what the World Health Organization (WHO) calls the 'world's biggest killers.' This study shows that families, countries and economies are losing people in their most productive years. The numbers indicate that non-communicable diseases have the potential to not only bankrupt health systems but to also put a brake on the global economy. Tackling this issue calls for joint action by all actors of the public and private sectors," Olivier Raynaud, senior director of health at the World Economic Forum, said in a news release.

The World Health Organization offered several steps that could help avert the impact of these chronic, non-communicable diseases. They include alcohol and tobacco taxes, smoke-free environments, and public-service campaigns to get people to cut down on their consumption of salt and trans fats. The organization said countries that have implemented such programs have already seen a "marked reduction" in the incidence of disease and deaths, CBS News reported.

These "non-communicable diseases" (NCDs) are now the leading cause of death worldwide by a wide margin. That's why health experts and leaders from 193 nations are meeting at the United Nations in New York City to discuss strategies to lower the death toll.

"This will be the first time that the U.N. has actually focused on the major killer
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