Junk Food and Smoking to Kill 100s of Millions in Poor Countries

By Stephen Leahy


Man lighting a cigaret

Nov 26 (IPS) – Chronic, non-infectious diseases like heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes kill more than twice as many people than HIV/AIDS, malaria or tuberculosis, experts warn.

In the next 10 years, some 388 million people will die of these largely preventable diseases, which are caused mainly by smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise. Often thought to be diseases of the rich, most of these deaths will be in the developing world, conclude the authors of a study published in the journal Nature this month.

“We have a huge health crisis here that few policymakers and other officials are aware of,” said lead author Dr. Abdallah S. Daar of the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre in Toronto, Canada.

Developing countries, and medical and donor groups have focused almost entirely on infectious diseases, Daar told IPS. “But that’s like putting out one fire in a house burning from both ends,” he said.

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5 Year Countdown to an Extreme Climate (podcast)

Alex Smith, podcaster extraordinaire and host of Radio Ecoshock, features a blunt and terrifying assessment of climate change by Sir David King, the United Kingdom’s chief scientist.

Smith writes:

“Sir David King warns we are headed toward a hot-state planet, not seen since 55 million years ago (when life huddled on Antarctica).

The only way out, he says, is a binding international agreement by 2009. Even so, we only have a window of 5 years to act, to cut carbon drastically. Otherwise, the global climate may shift by 5 degrees C. ( 9 degrees Fahrenheit) or more. Keep in mind, that’s the just the global average. The arctic may go up 14 degrees or more.”

Listen to Sir David King interview on Australia’s ABC radio network as he addresses a wide range of issues including the so-called sceptics, politics and the latest science.

As Sir David points out the international community must finalize an agreement to dramatically cut emissions of carbon dramatically by 2009. Those negotiations begin in Bali Dec 3. While I won’t be in Bali, I will be writing some stories about the negotiations and the implications.

Related stories:
Climate Change Experts Warn World
Kill Kyoto or Kyoto II Our Only Hope?