A World of Chronic Disease

Science  29 Jul 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6042, pp. 558-559
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6042.558

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When the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was created in 2001, the world responded enthusiastically. In the ensuing decade, wealthy countries and donors have poured more than $11 billion into fighting these three diseases. But an increasing chorus of global health experts believes the world has been ignoring another health crisis of equal or even greater magnitude: the spiraling epidemic of noncommunicable diseases. Long the scourge of Western nations, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and respiratory diseases like asthma now kill more people worldwide than all other causes combined. And the trend will only accelerate as the global population ages and sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy food become more common around the world.