- Children in poor countries are living longer than 25 years ago thanks to improvements in sanitation, immunization programs, nutrition, and indoor air quality, according to research published Thursday in the journal Lancet.
- Globally, 5.8 million children under age five died last year, a 52% drop since 1990.
- But giving birth still carries a high risk in many countries. Twenty-four countries, including Afghanistan and Sierra Leone, still have maternal mortality rate grater than 400 deaths per 100,000.
Between 1980 and 2015, overall life expectancy rose from 62 years to 72 years, the Global Burden of Diseases study shows. And tackling chronic diseases may be made easier by increasing weekly physical activity.
However, noncommunicable diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke, now account for seven in 10 deaths globally, the study says, while tooth decay, headaches, anemia, and hearing loss affect more than one in 10. Moreover, rising rates of obesity, hypertension and alcohol and drug abuse threaten to upend much of the progress over the past 25 years, the study adds.
Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which led the study, said the results depict sketchy progress around the world, only partly driven by economic development.“We see countries that have improved far faster than can be explained by income, education, or fertility,” he said in a statement about the study’s release. “And we also continue to see countries — including the United States — that are far less healthy than they should be given their resources.”