Preventing chronic diseases: how many lives can we save?

Lancet. 2005;366(9496):1578-82. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67341-2.


35 million people will die in 2005 from heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other chronic diseases. Only 20% of these deaths will be in high-income countries--while 80% will occur in low-income and middle-income countries. The death rates from these potentially preventable diseases are higher in low-income and middle-income countries than in high-income countries, especially among adults aged 30-69 years. The impact on men and women is similar. We propose a new goal for reducing deaths from chronic disease to focus prevention and control efforts among those concerned about international health. This goal-to reduce chronic disease death rates by an additional 2% annually--would avert 36 million deaths by 2015. An additional benefit will be a gain of about 500 million years of life over the 10 years from 2006 to 2015. Most of these averted deaths and life-years gained will be in low-income and middle-income countries, and just under half will be in people younger than 70 years. We base the global goal on worldwide projections of deaths by cause for 2005 and 2015. The data are presented for the world, selected countries, and World Bank income groups.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease* / epidemiology
  • Chronic Disease* / mortality
  • Female
  • Global Health*
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poverty*
  • Primary Prevention*