WHO predicts “global epidemic”

Developing countries can tackle a "global epidemic" of chronic disease by adopting cheap measures that have helped cut heart disease deaths in some rich nations by up to 70 percent, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

In a report published on Wednesday, the WHO said nearly half of all deaths from heart disease, cancer, respiratory infections, strokes and diabetes, to which about 35 million people will succumb this year, were preventable.

The report, "Preventing Chronic Diseases, a Vital Investment", said developing countries, where most such deaths occur, must copy Western nations by discouraging tobacco use and curbing salt, sugar and saturated fats in food. "Today we have a major epidemic and we know that if nothing is done, it will evolve rapidly and even more dramatically," Catherine Le Gales-Camus, WHO assistant director-general of non-communicable disease, told a news briefing, Reuters reports. I.L.

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