Reducing Six Risk Factors May Prevent 37 Million Deaths

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Cutting Six Risk Factors Could Prevent 37 Million Deaths
Cutting Six Risk Factors Could Prevent 37 Million Deaths

(HealthDay News) -- By meeting targets for reducing six risk factors, 37 million deaths from the four main non-communicable diseases (NCDs) can be prevented, according to a study published online May 3 in The Lancet.

Vasilis Kontis, PhD, from the Imperial College London, and colleagues estimated the impact of achieving the targets for six risk factors (tobacco and alcohol use, salt intake, obesity, and raised blood pressure and glucose) on NCD mortality between 2010 and 2025 using country data and previous epidemiological studies.

RELATED: Combined Tobacco, Alcohol Use Spikes Esophageal Cancer Risk

The researchers found that, if risk factor targets are achieved, the probability of dying from the four main NCDs (cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer, and diabetes) in those aged 30 to 70 years will decrease by 22% in men and by 19% in women, compared with a decrease of 11% in men and 10% in women under "business-as-usual" models. This translates to more than 37 million lives saved (16 million in people aged 30 to 69 years and 21 million in people aged 70 years or older) from the main NCDs over these 15 years. These benefits of delayed or prevented deaths would primarily be in low-income and middle-income countries.

"On the basis of mortality benefits and feasibility, a more ambitious target than currently agreed should be adopted for tobacco use," the researchers wrote.


  1. Kontis V, Mathers CD, Rehm J, et al. Contribution of six risk factors to achieving the 25×25 non-communicable disease mortality reduction target: a modelling study. Lancet. 2014;doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60616-4.

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