Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Those non-communicable diseases

The Guardian has caught onto the Lancet non-communicable disease thing...

...cancer, heart disease and stroke, diabetes and respiratory diseases. All are caused partly by our lifestyles - smoking, eating processed food, drinking and taking less exercise - in response to a world where energy-dense food, sugary drinks and alcohol is cheap and heavily marketed.

I've written before about the (fairly obvious) reason for the non-communicable disease 'epidemic', but one graph should suffice:

Notice the way communicable diseases have virtually disappeared (the graph uses data from the USA). Notice also that the total mortality rate has halved since 1900. You almost have to applaud the way the public health industry has managed to turn a giant leap forward in disease prevention into a new "epidemic" that requires urgent government action.

In 2010, 34.5 million people around the world died from these diseases, which were 65% of all deaths that year.

Good. Let's try to get it up to 100%.

That is expected to rise to 50 million deaths a year by 2030 as the NCD epidemic spreads.

The "epidemic" is "spreading" because of massive population growth and massive increases in longevity.

The World Health Organisation has set a target to reduce these deaths by 25% by 2025.

This is the so-called "25% by 25" campaign. Leaving aside the absurdity of campaigning against dying of old age, this target seems to have been picked purely because it rhymes. That really is not good enough. The 'emerging NCD movement', as the Lancet calls it, expects to be given carte blanche to dictate every aspect of our diet and social lives on the back of this arbitrary target. It should be based on something more than alliteration.

Even to the megalomaniacs in public health, this target must seem absurd. NCD deaths are expected to rise by nearly 50% by 2030 and yet the World Health Organisation thinks it can turn this around in just twelve years and make them fall by 25% instead? It is an impossible target and that's just the way they like it, because it means they can keep banning and bullying forever.


JohnB said...

For the Buddha “paradox”, see comment by Shadow Guest at:

Steve Kelly said...

It really is pathetic. The health establishment is run by a bunch of children. They don't have enough emotional maturity to comprehend basic logic. They're campaigning to eradicate the bogeyman Death. They believe that, like the little locomotive that thought he could, they really can do it if they just keep saying, "I think I can." It's make-believe, but they get paid more, the more they make believe. So they'll never stop until the grown-ups stop them. In the meantime they carry on torturing civilized society with all the insouciance of sadistic brats who tear the wings off of butterflies. Keep trying, Chris: your goal of re-establishing sanity is at least a possibility.

Anonymous said...

When I was a psychiatrist, our managers used to push the (laudable) attempts to improve the physical health of the long-term mentally ill with the 'shock tactic' of pointing out that our patients were more likely to die of heart disease than by suicide! I thought that this was a sign that we were doing some good and that if the ratio reversed - then we should be worried. Keep up the good work.

Junican said...

bla bla

Junican said...

Sorry about that. The google sign in is driving me up the wall. I keep losing comments.

I was saying that the only way for non-communicable diseases to be reduced to 25% is for communicable diseases to be increased to 75%, unless it is envisaged that the only cause of death will be accidents.

Junican said...

I have just noticed that the text says 'by' 25% and not 'to' 25%. Nevertheless, it seems to me that the only way to reduce that level 'by' 25% is to increase the communicable figure 'by' 75% - baring accidents.