Seven million deaths were caused by tobacco use previous year

Ebony Scott
September 18, 2017

"Major depressive disorders ranked in the top 10 causes of years lived with disability in all but four countries worldwide".

"Patterns of global health are clearly changing, with more rapid declines in CMNN conditions than for other diseases and injuries", the researchers wrote in the September 14 issue of the journal The Lancet.

It's the only annual and comprehensive study that provides global and national estimates on more than 330 diseases, causes of death and injuries in 195 countries worldwide. A woman has a life expectancy of 84.6 years, up 1 year from 2006.

Last year, the mortality rate among children below five years old decreased to less than 5 million, a first for modern history. In 1970, over 16 million children under the age of five died.

The report found that today, the average global life expectancy is 72.5 years (75.3 years for women and 69.8 years for men.) That's up from an average life expectancy of 65.1 years in 1990 and 58.4 years in 1970, the report said.

Of all the nations, Japan boasts the highest life expectancy at 83.9 years (a combined figure for both sexes), while people living in the Central African Republic can expect only 50.2 years, a global low.

Around 19% of deaths were caused by communicable diseases, maternal diseases, neonatal diseases and nutritional diseases (CMNN). In low income countries, lower respiratory infections were the biggest killer.

Ischemic heart disease - a condition that restricts blood flow throughout the body - caused 9.48 million deaths in 2016, an increase of 19% since 2006.

Only four of the leading 20 causes of disability in 2016 - stroke, COPD, diabetes, and falls -were also leading causes of death.

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Overall, deaths from infectious diseases have decreased. For example, 1.21 million people died a year ago from tuberculosis (TB), a 20% fall since 2006.

Death caused by HIV/AIDS among children and adults also went down by 46% since 2006, while deaths due to malaria have dropped 26% since 2006. The number of fatalities linked to conflict and terrorism reached 150,500 in 2016, which marks an increase of 143 percent since 2006.

Poor diet was associated with 1 in 5 deaths worldwide in 2016.

"In particular, diets low in whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds, fish oil and high in salt were the most common dietary risk factors", the research team wrote in its report, published in The Lancet medical journal. In addition to diet, other leading risk factors in worldwide deaths are smoking and high blood pressure.

Because of the strong links between these risks, the researchers explained that the true driver is likely to be diet and BMI, exacerbated by blood glucose levels and high blood pressure.

Despite an overall decrease in deaths from self-harm and interpersonal violence, there was a rise in the number of deaths from firearms - 67500 from self-harm and 161000 from assault (increase of 4.3% and 5.7% respectively since 2006).

It also noted that since 2006, there has been an increase in the number of deaths from conflict and terrorism, largely as a result of conflicts in north Africa and the Middle East. More than a billion people are suffering from mental health and substance misuse disorders.

Coordinated by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in the USA city of Seattle, the study involved more than 2,500 collaborators from around the world.

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