FOR CENTURIES, human beings died from lack of food and infectious disease. These were the global killers. Not true any longer, according to a huge collaborative study led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the UW, involving 486 authors and 300 institutions.
The study reveals massive shifts in health trends around the world since 1990, the starting point of the first Global Burden of Disease study. Since that time, the world has grown considerably older. Where infectious disease and childhood illnesses related to malnutrition were once the primary causes of death, now children in many parts of the world—outside of sub-Saharan Africa—are more likely to live into an unhealthy adulthood and suffer from eating too much food rather than too little.
Fewer children are dying, but there has been a stunning 44 percent increase in the number of deaths among adults aged 15 to 49 between 1970 and 2010 caused by increases in violence and HIV/AIDS, which kills 1.5 million people annually.
Lastly, health burden is increasingly defined by what’s making people sicker rather than what’s killing them. Now, mostly chronic diseases and injuries such as musculoskeletal disorders, mental health conditions and injuries cause the disease burden for humanity. While the world has done a tremendous job battling fatal illnesses, more of us are facing health problems that cause pain, impair our mobility and prevent us from seeing, hearing and thinking clearly.
For more information about the study go to: www.healthmetricsandevaluation.org/gbd