Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Underweight the Main Cause of Ill-Health; Five Causes Account for 28% of All DALYs. (News)

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Underweight the Main Cause of Ill-Health; Five Causes Account for 28% of All DALYs. (News)

Article excerpt

Childhood and maternal underweight, unsafe sex, high blood pressure, tobacco, and alcohol are the five main causes of today's global burden of disease, in that order, of 25 health risks chosen for study by the Comparative Risk Assessment Collaborating Group, an international team whose research forms the basis for this year's World Health Report (see WHO News).

According to the study, these five causes account for 28% of total disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost to ill-heath each year. Childhood and maternal underweight causes 138 million DALYs (9.5% of total), unsafe sex 92 million (6.3%), high blood pressure 64 million (4.4%), tobacco 59 million (4.1%), and alcohol 58 million (4.0%).

However, the ranking varies according to the state of development of countries. In the poorest regions of the world the third, fourth and fifth most important risk factors are unsafe water, sanitation, and hygiene; indoor smoke from solid fuels; and micronutrient deficiencies, while underweight and unsafe sex remain the first and second. …

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