No matter who you are or where you are from, your health is sacred. It’s the ultimate key as it opens the door to all else in our lives.
In every nation, regardless of economic status, improving quality of life and increasing longevity are common threads that tie us all together.
Knowing that far too many people in far too many places lack basic resources like shelter and food, it’s essential to protect our diverse populations from the devastating impact of preventable illnesses.
Cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease are all noncommunicable diseases. Together they are the world’s leading cause of preventable death, and represent the defining global health crisis of our generation.
In 1990, about 40% of deaths from noncommunicable diseases were in developing countries, compared with about 75% today. This surge can be traced largely to four areas: tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, insufficient physical activity, and unhealthy diet/obesity.
Each year, 38 million people die from noncommunicable diseases globally, and almost-three quarters of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. In addition, these health threats carry an economic burden of increased medical costs and lost wages that continues to climb.
A 2011 report of the World Economic Forum estimated that noncommunicable diseases could cost the world a cumulative output loss of $47 trillion by 2030.
Of course, this doesn’t even begin to factor in the emotional toll on family and friends – the children left without parents, the students left without teachers, the businesses left without leaders.
What can be done?
We all have an obligation to help people control their risk factors. It’s more straightforward than you may think.
A 2015 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine concluded that chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and cancer could be cut by at least in half if people adopted healthy lifestyles such as regular exercise, diets low in sodium and added sugars, and abstained from using tobacco.
Adopting healthy lifestyles however, doesn’t happen overnight. There is science behind why people change, as each person is inspired and motivated by varying emotional and life factors.
While taking an individual approach to extending and saving lives is effective, think about what a dramatic impact we can make by casting a bigger net and creating a culture of health. This means designing infrastructures so “the healthy choice is the easy choice”.
For instance, nations can prioritize creating or maintaining safe spaces for exercise, low-cost options to purchase healthy foods, and clean-air laws that protect people from the dangers of secondhand smoke. It doesn’t even have to be an entire nation. It could happen in a company or in a neighbourhood. Every little bit helps.
Effective prevention also means understanding the unique risk profiles based on race or ethnicity. For example, in the United States, African Americans have a high prevalence of hypertension, a key risk factor for stroke, and not surprisingly, stroke rates are much higher among African Americans. Where you live (whether it’s part of a culture of health or not) can also make a big difference; we’ve seen life expectancy differ by more than 20 years for people living just 5 miles apart.
There are many more ideas and many more potential solutions. The key is working together. BY doing so, we can create a world that is healthier. And all manner of prosperity is sure to follow.
AstraZeneca Approves Thailand’s Vaccine Factory
Skin-lightening products market to reach US$31 billion by 2024
In emerging Asian and African economies, the natural aspiration to enhance one’s circumstances has led to rapid growth in the market for skin-lightening products, which is projected to reach US$31 billion by 2024.
Has Covid-19 prompted the Belt and Road Initiative to go green?
– Chinese overseas investment dropped off in 2020
– Government remains committed to the wide-ranging infrastructure programme
– Sustainability, health and digital to be the new cornerstones of the initiative
Following a year of coronavirus-related disruptions, China appears to be placing a greater focus on sustainable, digital and health-related projects in its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
As OBG outlined in April last year, the onset of Covid-19 prompted questions about the future direction of the BRI.
Launched in 2013, the BRI is an ambitious international initiative that aims to revive ancient Silk Road trade routes through large-scale infrastructure development.
By the start of 2020 some 2951 BRI-linked projects – valued at a total of $3.9trn – were planned or under way across the world.
However, as borders closed and lockdowns were imposed, progress stalled on a number of major BRI infrastructure developments.
In June China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that 30-40% of BRI projects had been affected by the virus, while a further 20% had been “seriously affected”. Restrictions on the flow of Chinese workers and construction supplies were cited as factors behind project suspensions or slowdowns in Pakistan, Cambodia and Indonesia, among other countries.
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