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Global Health
January 20, 2015

Rates of Noncommunicable Diseases Increasing in Developing Countries

JAMA. 2015;313(3):235. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.18331

Cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory illnesses, and diabetes are on the rise in developing countries and are affecting people at younger ages and having worse outcomes than in wealthier countries, according to a report by a task force from the Council on Foreign Relations, “The Emerging Global Health Crisis: Noncommunicable Diseases in Low- and Middle-Income Countries” (http://on.cfr.org/1zjxqeZ).

The report focuses on the factors associated with this emerging health crisis of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries. The authors note that urbanization and improvements in economic growth are leading to increased life expectancies in many developing countries, but they are also increasing exposure to behavioral risks that contribute to the development of NCDs. However, developing countries aren’t seeing improvements in health care and regulatory systems to deal with the shift from acute infectious illnesses to the growing incidence of chronic diseases.