The World Health Report 2002: Reducing Risks, Promoting Healthy Life
World Health Organization, 2002 - 248 pages
The World Health Report 2002 measures the amount of disease, disability, and health in the world today that can be attributed to some of the most important risks to human health. Even more importantly, it also calculates how much of this present burden could be avoided in the next 10 years.
The World Health Report 2002 represents one of the largest research projects ever undertaken by WHO, in collaboration with experts worldwide. Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of WHO, describes this report as a wake up call to the global community.
The report quantifies some of the most important risks to human health and examines a range of methods to reduce them. The ultimate goal is to help governments of all countries to lower major risks to health, and thereby raise the healthy life expectancy of their populations.
The risk factors range from underweight, unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene to high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, and obesity.
The report's findings give an intriguing - and alarming - insight into not just the current causes of disease and death and the factors underlying them, but also into human patterns of living and how some may be changing around the world while others remain dangerously unchanged.
Dr Brundtland says: This report helps every country in the world to see what measures it can take to reduce risks and promote healthy life for its own population.
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1 Example of distributional transitions for blood pressure and for tobacco
smoking Figure 2 . 2 Causal chains of exposure leading to disease Figure 2 . 3
The importance of population distributions of exposure Figure 2 . 4 Attributable
... to be the most reliable , as the doseresponse is often least certain at low
exposure levels . Figure 2 . 1 Example of distributional transitions for blood
pressure and for tobacco smoking Blood pressure Tobacco smoking Theoretical
This section includes estimates of burden of disease attributable to suboptimal
blood pressure , cholesterol and overweight , as well as low fruit and vegetable
intake and physical inactivity ( see Table 4 . 3 ) . Some summary results are
Since most blood pressure related deaths or nonfatal events occur in middle age
or the elderly , the loss of life years comprises a smaller proportion of the global
total , but is nonetheless substantial ( 64 . 3 million DALYs , or 4 . 4 % of the total )
cholesterol reduction consists of individuals with combinations of risk factors ,
such as being male , with ischaemic changes , who smoke , are obese , are not
physically active and have high blood pressure and high cholesterol ( 11 ) .