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Where does Ireland rank when it comes to deaths caused by cancer, heart disease and lung disease?

Ireland is one of the better performing countries, but is still set to fall short of UN targets, according to a new study.

ncd4 Ireland is one of the better performing countries in the research. Source: The Lancet

MORE THAN HALF of all countries – including Ireland – are predicted to fail to reach UN targets to reduce premature deaths from cancers, cardiovascular, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes by 2030, according to new research published in The Lancet

According to analysis from researchers at Imperial College London, Ireland will meet the target of reducing these premature deaths by a third in men by 2030, but won’t achieve that target in women until after 2040.

The figures show that the probability of an Irish woman dying from these non-communicable diseases between the ages of 30 and 70 is 8.7%, with this figure 11.9% for men. 

Furthermore, the probability of dying between birth and the age of 80 from these diseases is 25.8% for women and 36.4% for men. 

While the situation is far more severe in other countries, with one in 10 countries seeing death rates stagnate or worsen, the authors of the research say that all countries must implement policies to reduce premature deaths sooner if they are to meet targets.

Ireland ranks 12th lowest for the proportion of women who die from one of these disease between the ages of 30 and 70, and ranks 23rd for men. 

In the USA, for example, almost one in eight women die from one of these four disease by the time they’re 70, compared to one in 20 in South Korea, which is the best performing country. 

“Despite clear commitments, international aid agencies and national governments are doing too little to reduce deaths from cancers, heart and lung diseases and diabetes,” said senior author Professor Majid Ezzati, adding that the burden of other diseases means that the true health of people in most countries is even more dire. 

There were 12.5 million deaths from the four major disease categories listed for people aged between 30 and 70 in 2016.

Where the situation isn’t improving, or not improving fast enough, in some countries, the authors say that may be due to a lack of progress in tackling factors such as blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, alcohol use and tobacco use.

To accelerate reductions in death rates from these disease, the researchers call for policies and interventions that reduce tobacco and alcohol use, including fiscal and regulatory measures such as taxation, warning labels, restriction of availability and sales, and the banning of marketing, advertising and public smoking.

The Public Health Alcohol Bill – the government’s long-delayed legislation that would introduce restrictions on advertising of alcohol among other factors – was due to be debated this week as the Dáil returned, but was delayed again. 

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Sean Murray

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