A few major risk factors are responsible for a large portion of the global disease burden and eliminating them could result in important health gains, A 1993 study reported in [The Lancet] was the first to estimate the disease burden of multiple risk factors on a global scale, Disease burden and injury attributable to 20 major risk factors in 14 regions around the world was evaluated. Forty-seven percent of premature deaths and 39% of the total disease burden in 2000 were due to the joint effects of the 20 risk factors. The risk factor that contributed the most to the disease burden was childhood and maternal underweight, followed by unsafe sex, high blood pressure and tobacco use. Together, the risk factors accounted for more than 90% of diarrhoea cases, 83% to 89% of ischaemic heart disease cases, 70% to 76% of stroke cases, 72% of lung cancer cases, 55% to 62% of lower respiratory infection cases and 60% of COPD cases. Simultaneous elimination of all risk factors would increase global life expectancy by 9.3 years. However, the benefit would vary greatly by region. The study indicated that the gain in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa would be 16.1 years, while the increase was only 4.4 years in developed regions of the western Pacific.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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