Obesity and diabetes the new killers amongst the young

Fewer people are dying from stroke and heart attacks than before, but rising levels of obesity and diabetes, particularly among younger people, are going to push mortality rates higher, according to a new OECD report. Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes: Policies for Better Health and Quality of Care points out that although there has been a 60% drop in mortality rates in the last 50 years in OECD countries from cardiovascular disease (CVD) it still remains the leading cause of death.

Currently around 85 million people in OECD countries have diabetes, which represents around 7% of people aged 20-79 years, and this number is projected to reach 108 million by 2030 – a 27% increase. Obesity is also rising, affecting one in five people in the OECD. Amongst other things, the report recommends that countries should:

  • Do more to promote healthier lifestyles. Anti-smoking policies, initiatives to reduce salt consumption and combat obesity have all been shown to be effective
  • Ensure primary care is financially accessible to everyone and the gap between recommended care and care provided in practice is closed.
  • Improve accountability and transparency of primary care performance.
  • Establish a national framework to improve the quality of acute care and reduce regional     variations within countries.
  • Ensure reforms involve every single aspect of the health system, from policies and prevention to primary care, emergency care, acute care and rehabilitation, as the complexity of treating CVD and diabetes means that the chain of care is only as strong as its weakest link.

To read the full report, click here on www.oecd.org