Curbing bad habits can stop 37 mil premature deaths: study

PARIS —

Curbing smoking and drinking, salt intake, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and obesity can prevent more than 37 million premature deaths by 2025, according to an analysis published on May 3.

If globally-adopted targets for reducing these risk factors are met, the risk of dying prematurely from heart or lung disease, stroke, cancer or diabetes will fall by 22% in men and 19% for women in 2025, compared with 2010, a team of researchers wrote in The Lancet medical journal.

“Worldwide, this improvement is equivalent to delaying or preventing at least 16 million deaths in people aged 30-70 years and 21 million in those aged 70 years or older over 15 years,” they said.

The targets are to reduce tobacco use by 30%, alcohol consumption by 10%, salt intake by 30%, high blood pressure by 25%, and to halt the rise in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes.

A more ambitious 50% reduction in smoking by 2025 would reduce the risk by more than 24% in men and by 20% in women, wrote the team.

They used national population data and epidemiological models for their calculations.

“Most of the benefits will be seen in low-income and middle-income countries where as many as 31 million deaths could be prevented,” said co-author Majid Ezzati from Imperial College London.

Not reaching the targets would result in 38.8 million premature deaths in 2025 alone—10.5 million more than in 2010, the team said.

Premature mortality is defined for the purposes of the study as the probability of dying between the ages of 30 and 70.

The United Nations is targeting a 25% reduction in premature death from non-communicable diseases from 2010 to 2025.

This group of diseases is caused in large part by unhealthy lifestyles, including tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets.

(c) 2014 AFP

  • -4

    philly1

    Unhealthy lifestyles should be encouraged. People are living too long. Death is not 'premature' it is inevitable. With all the wealthy nations having issues with too many old people and too few young people, death should be recommended. Even promoted. Add a tax benefit to your estate if you choose that option. Exit now while you are feeling okay. Don't be a burden to your people, people.

  • 7

    cleo

    Lead the way, philly1.

  • 2

    Novenachama

    The way I see it is life will be over sooner than we know it, being healthy and active is way more fun and rewarding than being unhealthy and inactive, so whatever decisions you make, be sure to enjoy them.

  • -2

    Frungy

    Reducing high blood pressure? Well this article, predicting further government interference in my personal lifestyle choices, doesn't help with that.

  • 1

    philly1

    Lead the way, philly1.

    Tongue in cheek, Cleo. Tongue in cheek.

    But really, there's some truth in it. I'm all for living life fully and not getting too bent out over whether eggs are the media bad boy one year or butter the next or animal fat the one after. Or exactly how many glasses of wine are bad for you or the various numbers that let Big Pharma get their hooks into you.

    That said, I am not unhealthy and do not lead an unhealthy lifestyle; however, it is realistic to expect that as I near the end of my life, more will be spent on high-cost medical interventions to keep me alive and warehouse me in some sort of facility that is much like an industrial chicken farm for the elderly. That is not affordable to society. It is not quality of life.

    In that instance I truly would want to lead the way. But it's illegal to have an exit strategy and illegal for someone to assist anyone who wants to check out. And most present methods of ending one's life oneself are messy or painful or apt to fail when some well meaning soul intervenes to "save" you (for more pain and misery).

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