September 25, 2017 – Causes of Death


Anchor lead: What do death data worldwide tell us? Elizabeth Tracey reports

What do people worldwide die of? That’s the substance of the Global Burden of Disease study published recently in the Lancet. Mike Klag, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins, describes the data.

Klag: Now over 70% of people around the world are estimated to die from causes that are not infectious. Noncommunicable diseases. So these are diseases like cardiovascular disease, lung disease, Alzheimer’s, obesity related diseases and risk factors that come from obesity. That’s not to say that there isn’t a big burden of infectious diseases. There are, and we can’t take our eye off that, but increasingly the drivers of why people get sick and why they die are noncommunicable diseases.  :28

Klag notes that the majority of noncommunicable diseases are under the control of the individual, and that prudent choices regarding diet, exercise, and smoking can dramatically impact the chance of developing one of these conditions and experiencing early death. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.