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Year 2030: Fat, Sick and Poor?

The World Health Organization (WHO) report on chronic disease issued prior to the UN summit this week includes projections that by 2030, chronic disease will cost the world $47 trillion in medical costs and lost wages. The report, titled The Global Economic Burden of Non-communicable Diseases, found that heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes and mental health ailments (what the WHO calls the “world’s biggest killers”) are the primary culprits. Currently, they kill 36 million people per year. This report comes after earlier predictions that half of the U.S. will be obese by 2030.

The glass is not half-empty, however. According to the report, these diseases can be prevented and treated for as little as $1.20 per person. "This study proves that there are affordable steps all governments can take to address non-communicable diseases,” said Dr. Ala Alwan, assistant director-general for non-communicable diseases and mental health at the WHO in a written statement.