More than half of all countries will likely fail to hit the UN target of reducing premature deaths from a quartet of chronic diseases by a third before 2030, researchers said Friday.
Cancers, heart and blood-vessel disease, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease combined to kill 12.5 million people aged 30 to 70 worldwide in 2016, they reported in a major study.
“The bottom line is this: a set of commitments were made, and most countries are not going to meet them,” lead author Majid Ezzati, a professor at Imperial School London’s School of Public Health, told agencies.
Only 35 nations are on track to meet UN Sustainable Development Goal 3.4 — launched in 2015 — for women, and even less for men, the study revealed.
“International donors and national governments are doing too little to reduce deaths from non-communicable diseases,” Ezzati said.
The good news, he added, is that most countries are at least moving in the right direction.
But around 20 states — 15 for women, 24 for men — are either stagnating or backsliding.
That select group of failure includes only one wealthy nation: the United States.
A much-noted study last year in the American Journal of Public Health showed that the rise in premature deaths was especially sharp among white, rural Americans, described by the authors as gripped by an “epidemic of despair”.
“It comes down to weak public health, weak health care system, high levels of inequality,” Ezzati said.
Across all age groups, non-communicable diseases kill more than 40 million people a year worldwide, accounting for seven in 10 deaths.
Of these, 17 million are classified as “premature,” or before the age of 70.
“We are sleepwalking into a sick future because of severely inadequate progress on non-communicable diseases,” said Katie Dain from the NCD Alliance.