Lifestyle diseases rising

| December 28, 2016

City life and its modern trappings have brought lifestyles to developing African nations that will lead to more people dying of chronic illness than from infectious diseases by 2030, according to a story in The New Times citing a new study.

A World Health Organization (WHO) survey of 33 countries has shown that most adults in Africa have at least one risk factor increasing their chance of developing lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

These are said to include smoking, the harmful use of alcohol, a poor diet, and low levels of physical activity.

Report author Abdikamal Alisalad said the level of unhealthy habits in many African nations had come as a shock.

“We were surprised because we thought we would not see this kind of situation currently,” he said. “We were expecting it maybe 30 or 40 years from now.”

Forty-six percent of Africans are said to suffer high blood pressure – the highest worldwide.

Alisalad attributed the rise in non-communicable diseases to changes in developing societies. “People are moving from the rural areas, going to urban, metropolitan areas,” he said. “The middle-income group is growing; life expectancy is also growing.”

The WHO study found that daily tobacco use ranges from five percent to 26 percent in Africa, and is growing. Cigarette prices are often a fraction of those in Europe.

In part this growth seems due to the fact that while the tobacco, alcohol and food industries have had to adapt to growing health-consciousness in the West, this is not the case in Africa.

“They see Africa as a fertile ground because of the legislation and policy weaknesses that exist in our region; they see opportunity to make a lot of profit,” said Alisalad.

Category: Breaking News

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