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Healthy Caribbean Coalition - WHO warns of enormous burden of chronic disease

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First Published 27, April 2011 By Kate Kelland, Health and Science Correspondent Reuters here

(Reuters) - Chronic illnesses like cancer, heart disease and diabetes have reached global epidemic proportions and now cause more deaths than all other diseases combined, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

In its first worldwide report on so-called non-communicable diseases, or NCDs, the United Nations health body said the conditions caused more than half of all deaths in 2008 and pose a greater threat than infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV and tuberculosis (TB) -- even in many poorer countries.

"The rise of chronic noncommunicable diseases presents an enormous challenge," WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan, who launched the report at a meeting in Moscow, said in a statement.

"For some countries, it is no exaggeration to describe the situation as an impending disaster; a disaster for health, for society, and most of all for national economies," she said. NCDs, which include heart disease, lung diseases, cancer and diabetes, accounted for 36 million, or 63 percent, of the 57 million deaths worldwide in 2008. Millions of lives could be saved and much suffering avoided if people did more to avoid risk factors like smoking, drinking and being overweight, the WHO said.

Read the complete article here http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/27/us-disease-who-idUSTRE73Q1Q120110427.

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