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Modern Health

Just one in 20 people worldwide had no health problems in 2013. And the leading causes of health loss have not changed much between 1990 and 2013…


“Just one in 20 people worldwide (4·3%) had no health problems in 2013, with a third of the world’s population (2·3 billion individuals) experiencing more than five ailments, according to a major new analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2013, published in The Lancet.

…The findings come from the largest and most detailed analysis to quantify levels, patterns, and trends in ill health and disability around the world between 1990 and 2013.

…In the past 23 years, the leading causes of health loss have hardly changed. Low back pain, depression, iron-deficiency anemia, neck pain, and age-related hearing loss resulted in the largest overall health loss worldwide (measured in terms of YLD — Years Lived with Disability — i.e., time spent in less than optimum health) in both 1990 and 2013.

…In 2013, low back pain and major depression ranked among the top ten greatest contributors to disability in every country, causing more health loss than diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and asthma combined.

…”The fact that mortality is declining faster than non-fatal disease and injury prevalence is further evidence of the importance of paying attention to the rising health loss from these leading causes of disability, and not simply focusing on reducing mortality,” says Theo Vos, lead author and Professor of Global Health at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, USA.

…Eight causes of chronic disorders — mostly non-communicable diseases — affected more than 10% of the world population in 2013: cavities in permanent teeth (2·4 billion), tension-type headaches (1·6 billion), iron-deficiency anemia (1·2 billion), glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency trait (1·18 billion), age-related hearing loss (1·23 billion), genital herpes (1·12 billion), migraine (850 million), and ascariasis (800 million; giant intestinal roundworm).”

On the list, roughly 2.4 billion people have cavities in their permanent teeth. This represents the biggest cause to chronic disorders. The most important question we have to ask is: why such a large number still have decay?

Is it due to poor access to dental care?

Or the cost of treatment preventing people from getting dental care?

Does fluoridation of our water supplies have any use considering how much decay there is?

Or (and probably the most important) wider access to refined sugar?

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