This year, about 75 percent of those who die in the Americas will die of an NCD.1 Over 33 percent of these NCD deaths will occur in people under age 70 and thus are considered premature. Some 25 percent of all NCD deaths will occur among working-age people.2
Although the four main NCDs pose the greatest health burden, other NCDs—ranging from neuropsychiatric conditions (e.g., schizophrenia, depression, Alzheimer’s disease) to musculoskeletal conditions (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis) and sense organ disorders (e.g., cataracts, hearing loss)—are responsible for a large proportion of ill health, disability and human suffering. To complicate matters, many people with an NCD have more than one coexisting condition, greatly increasing both suffering and costs.3
Absent a timely and vigorous policy response, universal trends such as rapid unplanned urbanization, the aging of the population and the spread of unhealthy lifestyles will likely increase the burdens NCDs impose on bodies and budgets in the Americas.
Fortunately, however, the global community’s search for options to prevent and control NCDs has already delivered some positive results…