Global Trends in Non-Communicable Disease in the News and Literature

The rise of  cardiovascular and other non-communicable diseases in low and middle income countries (LMICs) reflects economic transformations occurring around the globe. Rural populations pursue new opportunities in cities, where they are exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution, and where most jobs require little physical activity. This trend, coupled with greater availability of unhealthy foods, tobacco and alcohol, as well as changes in family structure and social norms, undermine healthy behaviors. Once the conditions that lead to cardiovascular disease, such as hypertension or diabetes develop, they often require life-long monitoring and treatment with expensive drugs.  Changes in disease burden in developing countries require a new approach to public health interventions.

Fortunately, the increasing burden of cardiovascular disease, as well as other non-communicable diseases is beginning to attract the attention of scientists, clinicians and policy makers, as well as journalists.  Below you’ll find links to recent news articles, and further down, links to relevant research publications.

Non-Communicable Diseases in the News

New book by Lown Visiting Professor Sir Michael Marmot (Wall Street Journal November 4, 2015) addresses the impact of inequality on health.

President Obama’s smoking problem in Malaysia  (Politico April 26, 2014)  The Trans-Pacific Partnership could open markets for US tobacco in Asian countries.  Malaysia would like restrictions on tobacco advertising to be part of the agreement.

Global Diabetes Epidemic  (New York Times, April 25, 2014).  An endocrinologist describes her work in India, and reports on  the spread and the burden of diabetes in Asia.

Scholarly Articles about Global Non-Communicable Disease Trends

The Global Burden of Respiratory Disease (Ferkol and Schaufnagel;  Ann Am Thoracic Soc. 11(3):  404-406, Mar 2014).  An analysis of the magnitude and distribution of major lung diseases, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, acute respiratory infections, tuberculosis and lung cancer.

Cardiovascular Risk and Events in 17 Low-, Middle- and High-Income Countries (Yusef, et al; New England Journal of Medicine.  371:818-827.  2014).  A survey of cardiovascular risk in various countries, with an emphasis on the impact of economic and development status.

Lung Diseases in a Global Context  (Schluger and Koppaka;  Ann Am Thoracic Soc. 11(3):  407-416, Mar 2014).  An analysis of lung disease and associated risk factors in countries around the world.

A ‘Multiple Lenses’ Approach to Policy Change: The Case of Tobacco Policy in the UK (Cairney British Politics, 2007, 2: 45–68)  A review of changes in tobacco policy in the UK.  A possible guide to shaping tobacco policy in other countries.

Early appraisal of China’s huge and complex health-care reforms  (Yip WC et al., Lancet. 2012 Mar 3;379(9818):833-42)  A look at China’s progress towards its goal of comprehensive universal health coverage by 2020.

Population Approaches to Improve Diet, Physical Activity, and Smoking Habits (Mozaffarian et al. Circulation 2012; 126: 1514-1563) A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association evaluating the effectiveness of various strategies to improve health behaviors with the goal of preventing cardiovascular disease.