Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) kill about 40 million people annually. Comprising chronic lung diseases, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases, NCDs are the result of a characteristic Western, predominantly urban lifestyle and negative environmental factors. Almost three-quarters of global NCD deaths arise from low or middle income countries, where the incidence of NCDs is on the rise. - World Economic Forum


The major common lifestyle risk factors of non-communicable diseases are physical inactivity, air pollution, obesity, smoking, and drinking.

  • Insufficient physical activity accounts for about nine percent of premature deaths and, according to research published in the Lancet journal, cost the world economy an estimated $67.5 billion in 2013.
  • Air pollution causes about 3.2 million deaths worldwide, including 223,000 deaths from lung cancer, according to the World Health Organization.
  • The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that excess weight and obesity cause 3.4 million deaths per year globally.
  • Smoking tobacco was responsible for about 5 million deaths globally in 2010, according to the Lancet Physical Activity Series Working Group.

The following dashboard presents a high-level overview of the global burden of NCDs, and how this burden has evolved over the course of the past two decades, a period marked by rapid economic growth among developing nations and improvements in medicine and public health. These improvements have helped countries to fight against infectious diseases. Now the world is turning its attention towards the fight against NCDs, largely chronic diseases associated with lifestyle choices and aging.

  • Ninety countries have experienced an increase in NCDs over the last 25 years, a burden that spans Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and North and South America.
  • As of 2016, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Russia, Latvia, and Hungary had the highest burden of non-communicable diseases in the world.
  • Of note, while about 85 percent of countries successfully reduced the prevalence of smoking, only seven percent successfully reduced the prevalence of obesity.

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