According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 37 million deaths could be prevented worldwide by targeting 6 risk factors.
The risk factors targeted by the WHO are tobacco use, harmful alcohol use, high salt intake, high blood pressure and blood sugar, and obesity. These factors all play a role in the four leading causes of death, namely cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, cancer and diabetes.
If nothing is done about the situation, the WHO predicts that over 37 million people will die prematurely from these diseases over the next 15 years. That’s nearly 10 million more than in 2010 (28.3 million).
According to the WHO, these millions of premature deaths could be prevented by achieving the following targets:
- Tobacco use: 30-50% reduction
- Alcohol use: 10% reduction
- Salt intake: 30% reduction
- High blood pressure: 25% reduction
- Stopping the rise in obesity and diabetes prevalence
On a worldwide scale, most of these premature and avoidable deaths take place in the poorest countries, mainly because smoking is still very widespread in those countries and the national focus is usually placed on economic development and social conflict, rather than disease prevention. In Canada and other “richer” countries, many health policies are already in place to reduce these six risk factors.