Lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes are no longer a problem just in wealthy nations -- their rates in low-to-middle income countries are outpacing those of the developed countries, according to an Australian study.
"Globally 14.2 million people between the ages of 30-69 years die each year prematurely from diseases which are preventable. Risk factors for these diseases include tobacco use, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity," said Rob Moodie, professor from University of Melbourne's School of Population Health.
"There is a common view that only people in wealthy nations die from NCDs (non-communicable diseases by which lifestyle diseases are known) but it is a new epidemic in low-to-middle income countries that needs to be addressed," added Moodie, according to a Melbourne statement.
Moodie said it was particularly concerning to be told recently by a surgeon at a hospital in Fiji that he was amputating a leg a day from patients suffering sepsis related to diabetes. "Seven trillion dollars of lost output in developed countries is attributable to NCDs," he said.
"We need to start looking at these new epidemics as they are major global problems that should have our attention," said Moodie, while addressing a seminar at the Burnet's Centre for International Health in 1995, which he helped found in Australia.