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Non-communicable diseases have been established as a clear threat not only to human health, but also to development and economic growth. Claiming 63% of all deaths, these diseases are currently the world’s main killer. Eighty percent of these deaths now occur in low- and middle-income countries. Half of those who die of chronic non-communicable diseases are in the prime of their productive years, and thus, the disability imposed and the lives lost are also endangering industry competitiveness across borders.
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The Global Economic Burden of
Non-communicable Diseases
A report by the World Economic Forum
and the Harvard School of Public Health
September 2011
World Economic Forum
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© 2011 World Economic Forum
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REF: 080911
The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors
alone. They do not necessarily represent the decisions, policy or
views of the World Economic Forum or the Harvard School of
Public Health.
Suggested citation: Bloom, D.E., Cafiero, E.T., Jané-Llopis, E., Abrahams-Gessel, S., Bloom, L.R., Fathima, S., Feigl,
A.B., Gaziano, T., Mowafi, M., Pandya, A., Prettner, K., Rosenberg, L., Seligman, B., Stein, A.Z., & Weinstein, C. (2011).
The Global Economic Burden of Noncommunicable Diseases. Geneva: World Economic Forum.
See www.weforum.org/EconomicsOfNCD
See online appendix for detailed notes on the data sources and methods: www.weforum.org/EconomicsOfNCDappendix
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Table of Contents
Preface 5
Executive Summary 6
1. Background on NCDs 7
2. The Global Economic Burden of NCDs 14
2.1 Approach 1: Cost-of-Illness 15
2.2 Approach 2: Value of Lost Output 28
2.3 Approach 3: Value of a Statistical Life 31
3. Conclusion 35
References 38
List of Tables 42
List of Figures 43
List of Boxes 44
Acknowledgements 45
5
Preface
Non-communicable diseases have been established as a clear threat not only to human health, but also to development
and economic growth. Claiming 63% of all deaths, these diseases are currently the world’s main killer. Eighty percent
of these deaths now occur in low- and middle-income countries. Half of those who die of chronic non-communicable
diseases are in the prime of their productive years, and thus, the disability imposed and the lives lost are also endangering
industry competitiveness across borders.
Recognizing that building a solid economic argument is ever more crucial in times of financial crisis, this report brings to
the global debate fundamental evidence which had previously been missing: an account of the overall costs of NCDs,
including what specific impact NCDs might have on economic growth.
The evidence gathered is compelling. Over the next 20 years, NCDs will cost more than US$ 30 trillion, representing 48%
of global GDP in 2010, and pushing millions of people below the poverty line. Mental health conditions alone will account
for the loss of an additional US$ 16.1 trillion over this time span, with dramatic impact on productivity and quality of life.
By contrast, mounting evidence highlights how millions of deaths can be averted and economic losses reduced by billions
of dollars if added focus is put on prevention. A recent World Health Organization report underlines that population-based
measures for reducing tobacco and harmful alcohol use, as well as unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, are estimated
to cost US$ 2 billion per year for all low- and middle-income countries, which in fact translates to less than US$ 0.40 per
person.
The rise in the prevalence and significance of NCDs is the result of complex interaction between health, economic growth
and development, and it is strongly associated with universal trends such as ageing of the global population, rapid
unplanned urbanization and the globalization of unhealthy lifestyles. In addition to the tremendous demands that these
diseases place on social welfare and health systems, they also cause decreased productivity in the workplace, prolonged
disability and diminished resources within families.
The results are unequivocal: a unified front is needed to turn the tide on NCDs. Governments, but also civil society and
the private sector must commit to the highest level of engagement in combatting these diseases and their rising economic
burden. Global business leaders are acutely aware of the problems posed by NCDs. A survey of business executives from
around the world, conducted by the World Economic Forum since 2009, identified NCDs as one of the leading threats
to global economic growth. Therefore, it is also important for the private sector to have a strategic vision on how to fulfill
its role as a key agent for change and how to facilitate the adoption of healthier lifestyles not only by consumers, but also
by employees. The need to create a global vision and a common understanding of the action required by all sectors and
stakeholders in society has reached top priority on the global agenda this year, with the United Nations General Assembly
convening a High-Level Meeting on the prevention and control of NCDs.
If the challenges imposed on countries, communities and individuals by NCDs are to be met effectively this decade, they
need to be addressed by a strong multistakeholder and cross-sectoral response, meaningful changes and adequate
resources. We are pleased and proud to present this report, which we believe will strengthen the economic case for
action.
Klaus Schwab
Founder and Executive Chairman
World Economic Forum
Julio Frenk
Dean
Harvard School of Public Health
6
As policy-makers search for ways to reduce poverty and income inequality, and to achieve sustainable income growth,
they are being encouraged to focus on an emerging challenge to health, well-being and development: non-communicable
diseases (NCDs).
After all, 63% of all deaths worldwide currently stem from NCDs – chiefly cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic
respiratory diseases and diabetes. These deaths are distributed widely among the world’s population – from high-
income to low-income countries and from young to old (about one-quarter of all NCD deaths occur below the age of 60,
amounting to approximately 9 million deaths per year). NCDs have a large impact, undercutting productivity and boosting
healthcare outlays. Moreover, the number of people affected by NCDs is expected to rise substantially in the coming
decades, reflecting an ageing and increasing global population.
With this in mind, the United Nations is holding its first High-Level Meeting on NCDs on 19-20 September 2011 – this
is only the second time that a high-level UN meeting is being dedicated to a health topic (the first time being on HIV/
AIDS in 2001). Over the years, much work has been done estimating the human toll of NCDs, but work on estimating the
economic toll is far less advanced.
In this report, the World Economic Forum and the Harvard School of Public Health try to inform and stimulate further
debate by developing new estimates of the global economic burden of NCDs in 2010, and projecting the size of the
burden through 2030. Three distinct approaches are used to compute the economic burden: (1) the standard cost of
illness method; (2) macroeconomic simulation and (3) the value of a statistical life. This report includes not only the four
major NCDs (the focus of the UN meeting), but also mental illness, which is a major contributor to the burden of disease
worldwide. This evaluation takes place in the context of enormous global health spending, serious concerns about already
strained public finances and worries about lacklustre economic growth. The report also tries to capture the thinking of the
business community about the impact of NCDs on their enterprises.
Five key messages emerge:
• First, NCDs already pose a substantial economic burden and this burden will evolve into a staggering one over the
next two decades. For example, with respect to cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer, diabetes
and mental health, the macroeconomic simulations suggest a cumulative output loss of US$ 47 trillion over the next
two decades. This loss represents 75% of global GDP in 2010 (US$ 63 trillion). It also represents enough money to
eradicate two dollar-a-day poverty among the 2.5 billion people in that state for more than half a century.
• Second, although high-income countries currently bear the biggest economic burden of NCDs, the developing world,
especially middle-income countries, is expected to assume an ever larger share as their economies and populations
grow.
• Third, cardiovascular disease and mental health conditions are the dominant contributors to the global economic
burden of NCDs.
• Fourth, NCDs are front and centre on business leaders’ radar. The World Economic Forum’s annual Executive Opinion
Survey (EOS), which feeds into its Global Competitiveness Report, shows that about half of all business leaders
surveyed worry that at least one NCD will hurt their company’s bottom line in the next five years, with similarly high
levels of concern in low-, middle- and high-income countries – especially in countries where the quality of healthcare or
access to healthcare is perceived to be poor. These NCD-driven concerns are markedly higher than those reported for
the communicable diseases of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
• Fifth, the good news is that there appear to be numerous options available to prevent and control NCDs. For example,
the WHO has identified a set of interventions they call “Best Buys”. There is also considerable scope for the design
and implementation of programmes aimed at behaviour change among youth and adolescents, and more cost-
effective models of care – models that reduce the care-taking burden that falls on untrained family members. Further
research on the benefits of such interventions in relation to their costs is much needed.
It is our hope that this report informs the resource allocation decisions of the world’s economic leaders – top government
officials, including finance ministers and their economic advisors – who control large amounts of spending at the national
level and have the power to react to the formidable economic threat posed by NCDs.
Executive Summary
7
1. Background on NCDs
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) impose a large burden on human health worldwide. Currently, more than 60% of all
deaths worldwide stem from NCDs (Figure 1). Moreover, what were once considered “diseases of affluence” have now
encroached on developing countries. In 2008, roughly four out of five NCD deaths occurred in low- and middle-income
countries (WHO, 2011a), up sharply from just under 40% in 1990 (Murray & Lopez, 1997). Moreover, NCDs are having
an effect throughout the age distribution – already, one-quarter of all NCD-related deaths are among people below the
age of 60 (WHO, 2011a). NCDs also account for 48% of the healthy life years lost (Disability Adjusted Life Years–DALYs)1
worldwide (versus 40% for communicable diseases, maternal and perinatal conditions and nutritional deficiencies, and
1% for injuries) (WHO, 2005a).
Adding urgency to the NCD debate is the likelihood that the number of people affected by NCDs will rise substantially
in the coming decades. One reason is the interaction between two major demographic trends. World population is
increasing, and although the rate of increase has slowed, UN projections indicate that there will be approximately 2 billion
more people by 2050. In addition, the share of those aged 60 and older has begun to increase and is expected to grow
very rapidly in the coming years (see Figure 2). Since NCDs disproportionately affect this age group, the incidence of these
diseases can be expected to accelerate in the future. Increasing prevalence of the key risk factors will also contribute to
the urgency, particularly as globalization and urbanization take greater hold in the developing world.
Data are for 2005. Source: (WHO, 2005a)
Source: (United Nations Population Division, 2011)
Figure 1: NCDs constitute more than 60% of deaths worldwide
Figure 2: The world population is growing and getting older
* “Other conditions” comprises communicable diseases, maternal and perinatal conditions and nutritional deficiencies.
1 The World Health Organization defines DALYs (Disability Adjusted Life Years) as “The sum of years of potential life lost due to premature mortality and the
years of productive life lost due to disability.”(World Health Organization, 2011b) A DALY is a healthy life year lost.
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In light of the seriousness of these diseases, both in human and financial terms, the United Nations is holding its first
High-Level Meeting on NCDs on 19-20 September 2011. This is only the second time that the UN General Assembly
is dedicating a high-level meeting to a health issue (the first time being on HIV/AIDS in 2001). Meanwhile, countries
are developing strategies and guidelines for addressing NCDs and risk factors through innovative changes to health
infrastructure, new funding mechanisms, improved surveillance methods and policy responses (WHO, 2011a). Yet the
reality is that these approaches as they stand today are severely inadequate.
Defining NCDs
What exactly are NCDs?2,3 They are defined as diseases of long duration, generally slow progression and they are the
major cause of adult mortality and morbidity worldwide (WHO, 2005a). Four main diseases are generally considered to be
dominant in NCD mortality and morbidity: cardiovascular diseases (including heart disease and stroke), diabetes, cancer
and chronic respiratory diseases (including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) (see Box 1).
The High-Level Meeting will focus on the four main diseases, but it is important to bear in mind that they do not make up
a comprehensive list. A key set of diseases not included on the list are mental illnesses – including unipolar depressive
disorder, alcohol use disorders and schizophrenia, all major contributors to the economic losses stemming from NCDs.
Also excluded are sense disorders such as glaucoma and hearing loss, digestive diseases such as cirrhosis, and
musculoskeletal diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout. These conditions impose private and social costs that
are also likely to be substantial. For example, musculoskeletal diseases can severely diminish one’s capacity to undertake
manual labour, such as farming, which is the dominant productive activity in rural settings that are home to 50% of the
world’s population.
Moreover, the term NCD is something of a misnomer because it encompasses some diseases that are infectious in
origin. Human papillomavirus is a cause of various cancers (for example, cervical, anal, genital and oral) and a portion of
gastric cancers are caused by the H. pylori bacteria. Indeed, up to one in five cancers is said to be caused by infection.
In the social sphere, NCD risks are also shared – eating, drinking and smoking habits are powerfully influenced by social
networks.
Box 1: A snapshot of the five major NCDs
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) refers to a group of diseases involving the heart, blood vessels, or the sequelae of
poor blood supply due to a diseased vascular supply. Over 82% of the mortality burden is caused by ischaemic or
coronary heart disease (IHD), stroke (both hemorrhagic and ischaemic), hypertensive heart disease or congestive heart
failure (CHF). Over the past decade, CVD has become the single largest cause of death worldwide, representing nearly
30% of all deaths and about 50% of NCD deaths (WHO, 2011a). In 2008, CVD caused an estimated 17 million deaths
and led to 151 million DALYs (representing 10% of all DALYs in that year). Behavioural risk factors such as physical
inactivity, tobacco use and unhealthy diet explain nearly 80% of the CVD burden (Gaziano, Bitton, Anand, Abrahams-
Gessel & Murphy, 2010).
Cancer refers to the rapid growth and division of abnormal cells in a part of the body. These cells outlive normal cells
and have the ability to metastasize, or invade parts of the body and spread to other organs. There are more than 100
types of cancers, and different risk factors contribute to the development of cancers in different sites. Cancer is the
second largest cause of death worldwide, representing about 13% of all deaths (7.6 million deaths). Recent literature
estimated the number of new cancer cases in 2009 alone at 12.9 million, and this number is projected to rise to nearly
17 million by 2020. (Beaulieu, Bloom, Reddy Bloom, & Stein, 2009).
Chronic respiratory diseases refer to chronic diseases of the airways and other structures of the lung. Some of the
most common are asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), respiratory allergies, occupational lung
diseases and pulmonary hypertension, which together account for 7% of all deaths worldwide (4.2 million deaths).
COPD refers to a group of progressive lung diseases that make it difficult to breathe – including chronic bronchitis and
emphysema (assessed by pulmonary function and x-ray evidence). Affecting more than 210 million people worldwide,
COPD accounts for 3-8% of total deaths in high-income countries and 4-9% of total deaths in low- and middle-income
countries (LMICs) (Mannino et al., 2007).
2 The World Health Organization (WHO) refers to these conditions as “chronic diseases.” For more information, see (WHO, 2005a)
3 Non-communicable diseases are identified by WHO as “Group II Diseases,” a category that aggregates (based on ICD-10 code) the following conditions/causes
of death: Malignant neoplasms, other neoplasms, diabetes mellitus, endocrine disorders, neuropsychiatric conditions, sense organ diseases, cardiovascular
diseases, respiratory diseases (e.g. COPD, asthma, other), digestive diseases, genitourinary diseases, skin diseases, musculoskeletal diseases (e.g. rheumatoid
arthritis), congenital anomalies (e.g. cleft palate, down syndrome), and oral conditions (e.g. dental caries). These are distinguished from Group I diseases
(communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions) and Group III diseases (unintentional and intentional injuries).
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Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which the body is unable to appropriately regulate the level of sugar, specifically
glucose, in the blood, either by poor sensitivity to the protein insulin, or due to inadequate production of insulin by the
pancreas. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes cases. Diabetes itself is not a high-mortality condition
(1.3 million deaths globally), but it is a major risk factor for other causes of death and has a high attributable burden of
disability. Diabetes is also a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and blindness.
Mental illness is a term that refers to a set of medical conditions that affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood,
ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Sometimes referred to as mental disorders, mental health conditions
or neuropsychiatric disorders, these conditions affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide. In 2002, 154
million people suffered from depression globally, 25 million people from schizophrenia and over 100 million people
suffered from alcohol or drug abuse disorders (WHO, 2011a). Close to 900,000 people die from suicide each year.
Neuropsychiatric conditions are also a substantial contributor to DALYs, contributing 13% of all DALYs in 2004 (WHO,
2005b).
4 Although low to moderate alcohol use (less than 20g per day) has been linked to some advantageous cardiovascular outcomes (particularly ischaemic heart
disease and strokes), heavy chronic drinking has been linked to adverse cardiovascular outcomes. The detrimental effects of heavy drinking have been shown to
outweigh its benefits by two- to three-fold based on cost-benefit calculations of lives saved or improved versus lives lost or disabled (Parry & Rehm, 2011).
Major NCD risk factors
NCDs stem from a combination of modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors.
Non-modifiable risk factors refer to characteristics that cannot be changed by an individual (or the environment) and
include age, sex, and genetic make-up. Although they cannot be the primary targets of interventions, they remain
important factors since they affect and partly determine the effectiveness of many prevention and treatment approaches.
A country’s age structure may convey important information on the most prevalent diseases, as may the population’s
racial/ethnic distribution.
Modifiable risk factors refer to characteristics that societies or individuals can change to improve health outcomes. WHO
typically refers to four major ones for NCDs: poor diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use, and harmful alcohol use (WHO,
2011a).
Poor diet and physical inactivity. The composition of human diets has changed considerably over time, with
globalization and urbanization making processed foods high in refined starch, sugar, salt and unhealthy fats cheaply
and readily available and enticing to consumers – often more so than natural foods (Hawkes, 2006; Kennedy, Nantel, &
Shetty, 2004; Lieberman, 2003; WHO, 2002). As a result, overweight and obesity, and associated health problems, are
on the rise in the developing world (Cecchini, et al., 2010). Exacerbating matters has been a shift toward more sedentary
lifestyles, which has accompanied economic growth, the shift from agricultural economies to service-based economies,
and urbanization in the developing world. This spreading of the fast food culture, sedentary lifestyle and increase in
bodyweight has led some to coin the emerging threat a “globesity” epidemic (Bifulco & Caruso, 2007; Deitel, 2002;
Schwartz, 2005).
Tobacco. High rates of tobacco use are projected to lead to a doubling of the number of tobacco-related deaths
between 2010 and 2030 in low- and middle-income countries. Unless stronger action is taken now, the 3.4 million
tobacco-related deaths today will become 6.8 million in 2030 (NCD Alliance, 2011). A 2004 study by the Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) predicted that developing countries would consume 71% of the world’s tobacco in
2010 (FAO, 2004). China is a global tobacco hotspot, with more than 320 million smokers and approximately 35% of
the world’s tobacco production (FAO, 2004; Global Adult Tobacco Survey - China Section, 2010). Tobacco accounts
for 30% of cancers globally, and the annual economic burden of tobacco-related illnesses exceeds total annual health
expenditures in low- and middle-income countries (American Cancer Society & World Lung Foundation, 2009).
Alcohol. Alcohol use has been causally linked to many cancers and in excessive quantity with many types of
cardiovascular disease (Boffetta & Hashibe, 2006; Ronksley, Brien, Turner, Mukamal, & Ghali, 2011). Alcohol accounted
for 3.8% of deaths and 4.6% of DALYs in 2004 (GAPA, 2011). Evidence also shows a causal, dose-response relationship
between alcohol use and several cancer sites, including the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver and female
breast (Rehm, et al., 2010).4
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The pathway from modifiable risk factors to NCDs often operates through what are known as “intermediate risk factors”
– which include overweight/obesity, elevated blood glucose, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Secondary
prevention measures can tackle most of these risk factors, such as changes in diet or physical activity or the use of
medicines to control blood pressure and cholesterol, oral agents or insulin to control blood sugar and pharmacological/
surgical means to control obesity.
Although intervening on intermediate risk factors may be more effective (and more cost-effective) than waiting until
NCDs have fully developed, treating intermediate risk factors may, in turn, be less effective (and less cost-effective) than
primary prevention measures or creating favorable social and policy environments to reduce vulnerability to developing
disease (Brownell & Frieden, 2009; National Commission on Prevention Priorities, 2007; Satcher, 2006; Woolf, 2009).
After all, even those with the will to engage in healthy practices may find it difficult to do so because they live or work
in environments that restrict their ability to make healthy choices. For these reasons, the need to address social
determinants of NCDs was reiterated at the 64th World Health Assembly held in Geneva, Switzerland in May 2011 by
WHO Member States in preparation for the UN High-Level Meeting in September 2011.
Macro-level contextual factors include the built and social environment; political, economic and legal systems; the policy
environment; culture; and education. Social determinants are often influenced by political systems, whose operation leads
to important decisions about the resources dedicated to health in a given country. For example, in the United States, free-
market systems often promote an individualistic cultural and social environment – which affects the amount of resources
allocated for healthcare, how these resources are spent and the balance of state versus out-of-pocket expenditures that
are committed to protect against, and cope with, the impact of disease (Kaiser, 2010; Siddiqi, Zuberi, & Nguyen, 2009).
Political systems that promote strong social safety nets tend to have fewer social inequalities in health (Beckfield & Krieger,
2009; Navarro & Shi, 2001).
Social structure is also inextricably linked with economic wealth, with the poor relying more heavily on social support
through non-financial exchanges with neighbours, family and friends to protect against, and cope with, the impact of
disease. Wilkinson and Marmot have written extensively on the role that practical, financial and emotional support plays in
buoying individuals in times of crisis, and the positive impact this can have on multiple health outcomes including chronic
disease (Wilkinson & Marmot, 2003).
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) reports that the proportion of the world’s population living in urban areas
surpassed half in 2008. The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) estimates that by 2050, two-
thirds of people around the world will live in urban areas. Approximately 1 billion people live in urban slums. According to
the UN, 6.5% of cities are made up of slums in the developed world, while in the developing world the figure is over 78%.
Although most studies note an economic “urban advantage” for those living in cities because of greater access to services
and jobs, this advantage is often diminished by the higher cost of living in cities and low quality of living conditions in
urban slums (ECOSOC, 2010).
In addition, urbanization and globalization heavily influence resource distribution within societies, often exacerbating
geographic and socioeconomic inequalities in health (Hope, 1989; Schuftan, 1999). Notably, a 100-country study
by Ezzati et al. found that both body mass index (BMI) and cholesterol levels were positively associated with a rise in
urbanization and national income (Ezzati, et al., 2005). At a regional level, a study conducted by Allender et al. similarly
found strong links between the proportion of people living in urban areas and NCD risk factors in the state of Tamil Nadu,
India (Allender, et al., 2010). This study observed a positive association between urbanicity and smoking, BMI, blood
pressure and low physical activity among men. Among women, urban concentration was positively associated with BMI
and low physical activity. Similar findings have been observed in other countries as well (Vlahov & Galea, 2002). A growing
literature has emerged on the effect of the built environment and global trends toward urbanization on health (Michael, et
al., 2009).
Education matters, too. This effect is at least partially attributable to the better health literacy that results from each
additional year of formal education. Improved health literacy has been linked to improved outcomes in breastfeeding,
reduction in smoking and improved diets and lowered cholesterol levels (ECOSOC, 2010).
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Income also matters. The evidence indicates a dynamic relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and health,
mediated by a country’s income level (Braveman et al., 2005). In less developed countries, there tends to be a positive
association between SES and obesity. But as a country’s GDP increases, this association changes to a negative one
(McLaren, 2007). In other words, in poorer countries, higher SES groups tend to be at greater risk of developing obesity-
related NCDs, whereas in wealthier countries, lower SES groups tend to be a greater risk (Monteiro, Moura, Conde, &
Popkin, 2004). Thus, it is important to develop country-specific programmes to address these varied dynamics and to
ensure that strategies are integrated into other country-level social policies to meet health and development goals.
Further, distinguishing the risk of developing disease from the risk of disease mortality will be critical when making policy
decisions regarding the costs and benefits of particular interventions. While the wealthy may be more likely to acquire
NCDs in low- and middle-income countries, the poor are much more likely to die from them because they lack the
resources to manage living with disease. NCDs are also more likely to go undetected in poor populations, resulting in even
greater morbidity, diminished quality of life and lost productivity. At a population level, this dynamic can result in a disease-
poverty trap, in which overall workforce quantity and quality is compromised owing to individuals being pushed out by the
burden of disease. This can diminish a country’s economic output and hinder its pace of economic growth.
Anticipated global economic impact
Although research on the global economic effects of non-communicable diseases is still in a nascent stage, economists
are increasingly expressing concern that NCDs will result in long-term macroeconomic impacts on labour supply, capital
accumulation and GDP worldwide with the consequences most severe in developing countries (Abegunde & Stanciole,
2006; Abegunde et al., 2007; Mayer-Foulkes, 2011; Nikolic, Stanciole, & Zaydman, 2011; Suhrcke, Nugent, Stuckler, &
Rocco, 2006).5
Globally, the labour units lost owing to NCD deaths and the direct medical costs of treating NCDs have reduced the
quality and quantity of the labour force and human capital (Mayer-Foulkes, 2011). In the United States, men with chronic
disease worked 6.1% fewer hours and women worked 3.9% fewer hours (Suhrcke, Stuckler, & Rocco, 2006). Pronk et
al. found that a “healthy” lifestyle in the US working-age population reduced healthcare costs by 49% in adults aged 40
and above (Mayer-Foulkes, 2011). In 2002, Sturm found that obesity increased individual annual healthcare costs by 36%,
smoking by 21% and heavy drinking by 10% (Mayer-Foulkes, 2011).
In terms of a single NCD, available evidence indicates that the estimated cost of new cancer cases in 2009 was US$ 286
billion globally (Beaulieu, Bloom, Reddy Bloom, & Stein, 2009). This estimate is based on the cost-of-illness approach
and includes treatment and care costs, research and development costs associated with cancer control, and foregone
income due to the inability to work. But this estimate is conservative, as it does not include the cost of cancer screening
and prevention, lost income due to cancer mortality or future treatment costs. A recent study conducted by the American
Cancer Society estimated the cost of DALYs due to cancer worldwide in 2008 at US$ 895 billion (John & Ross, 2010). In
contrast to the previous study cited here, this estimate represents global prevalence in 2008 (rather than global incidence
in 2009). In addition, it does not include direct medical costs, suggesting that it provides a lower-bound estimate of the
true economic burden.
For the developing world, a US Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on the macroeconomic impacts of cardiovascular
disease and chronic diseases in a number of countries (Fuster & Kelly, 2010) suggests that the economic impact of CVD
and related chronic diseases (such as diabetes and COPD) is large. Estimates ranged from an annual US$ 3 billion for
direct medical costs of obesity-related diabetes, coronary heart disease, hypertension and stroke in China to US$ 72
billion for treatment of and productivity losses due to five chronic conditions in Brazil.
NCDs also compromise future economic and human development because poverty and ill-health are often passed
down from one generation to the next. For example, poor nutrition may not only lead to diabetes-related morbidity but
it may also impair in utero growth and compromise fetal development. The developmental origins hypothesis (“Barker
Hypothesis”) suggests that fetal growth adaptations occur relative to biological conditions in utero and that the mother’s
physiological condition may influence the health trajectory of the newborn, potentially predisposing the child to adult
diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension and diabetes later in life (De Boo & Harding, 2006;
Paneth & Susser, 1995). Taking an approach to the issue of poverty and NCDs that acknowledges the connections
between social and health conditions over the lifespan is, therefore, likely to be useful in addressing the root causes and
consequences of these diseases in the long term.
5 For a detailed explanation of the pathways through which NCDs burden low- and middle-income countries, see Nikolic et al., 2011.
12
At the microeconomic level of households, studies suggest relatively sizable impacts. In Jamaica, 59% of those affected
with chronic disease experienced financial difficulties and in many cases avoided medical treatment as a result (Henry-
Lee & Yearwood, 1999). In Burkina Faso, the probability of catastrophic financial consequences more than doubled in
households affected by chronic illness (Su, Kouyate, & Flessa, 2006). Other studies have shown that in Europe, chronic
disease, particularly that of a husband, increased the probability of early retirement (Suhrcke, 2006). In Russia, chronic
disease resulted in 5.6% lower median per-person income (Mayer-Foulkes, 2011).
Business awareness of NCDs
For the business community, an awareness of NCDs stems from a natural interest in the health of its workforce and that
of the communities to which it markets its output. Worries focus on the impact of NCDs on workforce productivity via
absenteeism, presenteeism (that is, a worker being present, but unable to effectively do the work), the loss of critical skills,
and the need to promote employees prematurely when more experienced employees die or can no longer work. The
business community is also concerned about the rising costs of health and life insurance and about the impact of NCDs
on the size and purchasing power of its customer base. In response to these concerns, businesses can lessen the impact
on the bottom line through workplace programmes aimed at prevention, early detection, treatment, and care.6
The 2010 Executive Opinion Survey, base of input for the World Economic Forum Competitiveness Report, revealed that
NCDs figure prominently on the radar screen of the world’s business leaders:
• Over one-half expect that NCDs, taken together, will have a serious, somewhat serious, or moderate impact on their
company, and nearly one-third expect the impact to be more than moderate.
• The largest concerns caused by NCDs, both overall and within country income groups, are with cardiovascular disease
and cancer.
• For high- and middle-income countries (but not low-income), concerns about NCDs exceed those about HIV/AIDS,
malaria and tuberculosis.
• NCD concerns are greatest among business leaders in low-income countries, countries with poor quality healthcare
and countries that offer poor access to healthcare. These concerns are lowest in high-income countries.
• Among regions, South Asia displays the highest level of concern that NCDs would have at least a somewhat serious
impact on their business (nearly two-thirds of respondents).
• On a sectoral basis, business leaders in agriculture are the most concerned. Those in the health sector are more
concerned than executives in food and beverage products, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology or financial services.
Regarding business policies and programmes to address NCDs and key risk factors, the answer was that many
companies have adopted policies or initiated programmes to combat NCDs. These commitments vary by NCD and
income level, as Table 1 shows, with high-income countries having a higher share of companies adopting them than
low-income countries. On a regional basis, two-thirds of companies in Latin America and the Caribbean have taken anti-
smoking initiatives, nearly two-thirds in the Middle East and North Africa have acted against alcohol, and East Asia and
the Pacific lead the way with programmes focused on exercise, stress reduction and physical health.
Table 1: Companies favour tackling smoking and alcohol:
Percentage of companies that have established and implemented policies and programmes to
combat NCDs
6 The Workplace Wellness Alliance. Delivering on Health and Productivity. (2011). World Economic Forum.
Policy or programme All
countries
Low-income
countries
High-
income
countries
Anti-smoking 59 37 74
Anti-alcohol 56 42 61
Incentives for exercise 30 21 35
Stress reduction 23 14 32
Physical health 36 23 42
13
Box 2: World Economic Forum’s Executive Opinion Survey 2010
The World Economic Forum’s annual Executive Opinion Survey (EOS) generates much of the data used to construct
the Global Competitiveness Index. To gain insight into how the business community perceives NCDs, the World
Economic Forum started to include questions on NCDs in the 2010 questionnaire. This marks the first time that global
businesses were surveyed about NCDs in the context of competitiveness. The survey was conducted in the first four
months of 2010 and generated responses from more than 13,000 business executives in 139 countries.
The survey asked two key questions regarding NCDs. First, it polled executives on how serious an impact they
expected on their companies from heart disease and related cardiovascular problems, cancer, mental illness and
diabetes in the next five years. The impacts included death, disability, medical and funeral expenses, productivity
and absenteeism, recruitment and training expenses, and revenues. The survey also asked executives about the
implementation of business policies and programmes to address NCDs and key risk factors– specifically, smoking,
alcohol, exercise, stress reduction, and physical and mental health.
As all surveys, EOS has strengths and weaknesses. It is based on a large sample of business leaders across 142
countries and serves as a baseline for subsequent years, facilitating the tracking of trends. It allows for study of
variation by country, region, country income group and demographics, business sector, firm size, elder share of
population and other covariates (for example, perceived efficiency of public spending in a country and whether poor
public health is viewed as one of the top five problematic factors for doing business in a country).
However, the sample cannot be considered as completely representative of the business community in the
countries included (despite EOS efforts to have the sample match each country’s sectoral structure). To offer such
comprehensive view the survey would benefit from further including small business owners. In addition, refining the
wording of questions, and the interpretation of the response categories, including non-response, would strengthen the
results. As with many international surveys, issues of translation interact with cultural differences in the understanding
of words in ways that complicate interpretation of results. In spite of being a survey, and thus measuring business
opinions which might not necessarily reflect facts verifiable by other means, EOS offers a unique window into the views
of a large number of business leaders around the world on the topic of health issues and particularly NCDs.
14
2. The Global Economic Burden of NCDs
So how great is the economic burden of NCDs? To shed more light on this question, our study implements three methods
that economists have developed to calculate the economic burden of health problems:
2.1 The cost-of-illness (COI) approach. This is a commonly used method that sets out to capture the economic
impact of disease. It views the cost of NCDs as the sum of several categories of direct and indirect costs. The
categories typically considered in this approach are: personal medical care costs for diagnosis, procedures, drugs
and inpatient and outpatient care; non-medical costs, such as the costs of transportation for treatment and care; non-
personal costs like those associated with information, education, communication and research; and income losses.
Pain and suffering are also sometimes included in this approach.
2.2 The value of lost output: the economic growth approach. This method estimates the projected impact of NCDs
on aggregate economic output (GDP) by considering how these diseases deplete labour, capital and other factors
to production levels in a country. The WHO’s EPIC model simulates the macroeconomic consequences of NCDs by
linking disease to economic growth. It does this by modeling the two main factors of production, labour and capital,
as depending negatively on NCDs.
2.3 The value of statistical life (VSL) approach. This method reflects a population’s willingness to pay to reduce
the risk of disability or death associated with NCDs. By placing an economic value on the loss of health itself, this
approach goes beyond the impact of NCDs on GDP alone.
Each of these methods views the economic burden from a different perspective (for example, private versus public, or
individual versus social), focuses on different cost components, refers to different timeframes (for example, one-year
costs versus cumulative costs over multiple years), relies on distinct underlying data and assumptions, and in some
cases focuses on different sets of NCDs. Therefore, the results that emerge from these three methods are not directly
comparable. Moreover, interpretation of the results is complicated by comorbidities – that is, situations in which an
individual is subject to two or more coexisting medical conditions or disease processes (see Box 3). That said, regardless
of the approach, this report’s results paint a picture of an extremely high economic burden globally – one that will grow
over time if steps are not taken urgently to end “business as usual.”
In our study, we focus on the four major NCDs plus mental illness. The rationale for choosing these four is that they
are the categories identified for consideration by the UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs. We also include mental illness
because of its substantial contribution to the burden of disease worldwide.7
NCD cost estimates (for 2010) and projections (for 2030) are reported by the World Bank’s country-income groups
(low-income, lower-middle-income, upper-middle-income and high-income), lower- and middle-income countries taken
together (LMICs), and for the world as a whole. For 2030 estimates, we relied on the 2011 World Bank country-income
group categorization. It is likely that some countries will be classified differently in the year 2030, however this report does
not predict any changes in classification. It is worth noting that we have tried to report our results consistently in 2010
US$. Caution must be taken when comparing our results to existing literature, as other reports may present results in
different figures (for example, international dollars).
2.1 Approach 1: Cost-of-Illness (COI)
Box 3: Comorbidity among NCDs
Comorbidities refer to cases of two or more coexisting medical conditions or disease processes in one individual.
Comorbid conditions can be independent of one another. They can also arise because of common risk factors or the
presence of one disease increasing the likelihood of developing another. With regard to common risk factors, CVD and
many cancers share similar modifiable risks, such as smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diets.
Diabetes is perhaps the best example of one chronic disease leading to increased risk of other diseases. Type 2
diabetes is not typically fatal on its own, but often leads to complications such as cardiovascular disease, kidney failure
and infections that are indeed fatal. Another example is depression, which is known to impact the risk of diabetes and
diabetes outcomes and may also do so in CVD (Mezuk, Eaton, Albrecht, & Golden, 2008). The reasons for this may
include severity of risk factors, poor treatment compliance and the cumulative effects of response to stress. In the other
causal direction, diabetes and CVD may contribute to the development of dementia in the elderly, although the effect
size is unclear.
7 Note: there are several chronic conditions that this report will not include, but it is recognized that these conditions contribute to suffering, premature death and
disability, and economic hardship across the globe. Some of these conditions include kidney disease, blindness, hearing impairment and degenerative conditions
such as ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease. The reason that these conditions are not included
in the proposed analysis is that the estimates provided will be an input to the UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs; the focus of the High-Level Meeting is on the four
main categories of disease listed above. Therefore, the researchers aim to align the estimates with the scope of the UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs, adding the
additional burden of mental health given its prevalence as well as relationship to the management of chronic conditions.
15
Comorbidities are a non-trivial feature of the burden of disease among adults. For example, among the roughly 75%
of Canadians aged 65 and over with at least one chronic condition, one in three report having three or more chronic
conditions (almost always including hypertension). In addition, this comorbid group routinely takes an average of 6
prescription medications (twice as many as seniors with one chronic condition), and accounts for 40% of healthcare
spending among those aged 65 and over (Statistics Canada, 2008).
In 1999, nearly half of all U.S. Medicare* beneficiaries had three or more chronic conditions (Anderson & Horvath,
2002). In 1998, 70% of all individuals with hypertension had at least one other chronic condition (Anderson & Horvath,
2004). More recently, results from the United States’ National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that
68% of people with diabetes in the United States also have hypertension. Comorbidity data for people in low- and
middle-income countries are lacking, but there is no reason to think that comorbidities are much less prevalent in those
settings than in high-income countries.
Comorbidities pose a challenge to measuring the economic burden of NCDs. The challenge is not the same for
every method used to estimate the burden. For example, macro-models such as EPIC are driven by NCD-specific
mortality rates. As such, the NCD-specific cost results they yield will be sensitive to the accuracy of the NCD-specific
mortality rates. Therefore, if some portion of diabetes mortality is attributed to CVD mortality, the cost of diabetes will
be understated, and the cost of CVD will be overstated. However, the biases will tend to be offsetting when adding the
two together because each NCD death is attributed to no more than one cause. The same logic applies to VSL results,
since they are driven by NCD-specific DALYs. The COI method is most vulnerable to double counting associated with
comorbidities. This is because data on personal medical care costs rarely divide those costs by morbid condition.
Under these circumstances, the total cost of treatment may be incorrectly assigned to each disease, resulting in
overestimates for each disease and in the aggregate.
*Medicare is a programme of the US Government that provides health insurance to those aged 65 and older and to certain other groups.
For this report, we start with the cost-of-illness approach, as it is considered by many to be an intuitive way to measure
the economic burden of ill health. The COI approach distinguishes between direct and indirect costs of different health
conditions. Direct costs refer to visible costs associated with diagnosis, treatment, and care. Direct costs may include
personal medical care costs or personal non-medical costs such as the cost of transport to a health provider. Indirect
costs refer to the invisible costs associated with lost productivity and income owing to disability or death. The COI
approach can also accommodate non-personal health costs (such as those associated with research and public health
education campaigns). The cost of pain and suffering may also be considered in this approach, although it is rare to
find COI studies that place a monetary value on pain and suffering, and the present study does not do so. For further
discussion of the COI approach, see page 115 of World Health Organization, 2009.
Implementation of the COI approach typically varies by health condition because of differences in the nature of available
data. The interpretation of the results varies in corresponding fashion. This report presents the methods and results
for estimating the cost of illness in 2010 and 2030 of the following conditions: cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and mental illness. Due to the nature of data available on the prevalence and
cost of these five categories of NCDs, the COI method was implemented in different ways for each disease (See Table
2). Therefore, cost-of-illness results presented for any one of the conditions are not directly comparable to the results
presented for another. Estimates for each disease are intended to give readers an understanding of the magnitude of
costs for each illness, but not necessarily how the costs of each of the disease categories rank against one another.
16
Cancer
Cancer is a term that refers to the rapid growth and division of abnormal cells in a part of the body (American Cancer
Society, 2009). Risk factors include genetic causes, behavioural causes (such as tobacco or alcohol use, physical inactivity
and dietary factors), infections, environmental and occupational carcinogens and radiation. Different risk factors contribute
to the development of cancers in different sites. Smokeless tobacco is largely responsible for oral cancers, whereas
bacteria play a role in the development of stomach cancer. Many risk factors contribute to multiple types of cancers;
similarly, a particular type of cancer may be caused by several different risk factors.
Cancer is the second largest contributor to NCD deaths and causes a great deal of suffering worldwide. This report
estimates the global economic burden of new cancer cases in 2010 and projects that burden for 2030. Specifically, this
section presents estimates of the following:
• Incident cases of cancer for the years 2010 and 2030.
• One-year costs of incident cases of cancer for the years 2010 and 2030.
This section draws heavily on methods used in the 2009 study published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (Beaulieu et
al., 2009) (see Box 4). Results are presented for the world as a whole and are also broken down by World Bank income
group.
Table 2: How the COI method is applied to five different NCDs
8 Also known as incident cases.
9 Also known as prevalent cases.
10 This is not the number of people with a condition, but rather the number of events of ill-health. Therefore, a person may be counted more than once if s/he
experiences more than one event in a given year.
Cancer CVD COPD Diabetes Mental
Illness
Timeframe
First year after
diagnosis
One year only
Unit of
analysis
New cases of an
illness in a year8
All cases of an
illness in a year9
Events of ill-health10
Direct
costs
Personal medical
care costs
Personal non-
medical care costs
Indirect
Costs
Lost
income
Due to
mortality
Due to
disability
and care
seeking
Other
Non-personal costs
17
Box 4: Cancer model
The first step of the analysis involved estimating the number of new cases of cancer in the years 2010 and 2030.
Incidence data were obtained from the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s GLOBOCAN 2008 database,
which gives incidence by sex and age group for 27 specific cancer sites and 184 countries and territories around the
world (Ferlay et al., 2011). Incidence was assumed to be constant over time and was multiplied by population in 2010
and 2030 (United Nations Population Division, 2011) to calculate the number of new cancer cases expected in both
years. This is known as a “business-as-usual” scenario, in which population is the only factor allowed to vary over time.
Costs were estimated in three distinct categories: medical costs, non-medical costs and income losses. Medical
costs include the cost of medical procedures and services associated with treatment and care of cancer, including
hospitalization, outpatient visits and prescription drugs. Non-medical costs include the costs of transportation for
treatment and care, costs of complementary and alternative treatments for cancer and care-giving costs. Cost figures
were based on a study of site-specific cancer costs in the Republic of Korea in 2002 and adjusted for cross-country
differences in the cost of medical care per capita and to account for inflation (Kim, et al., 2008).
Income losses refer to output lost or foregone by cancer patients because of treatment or disability. Estimates of
income loss per case were derived from the authors’ calculations and based on data from both the aforementioned
Korean study and an additional study (Yabroff, Bradley, Mariotto, Brown, & Feuer, 2008) that provided self-reported
estimates of lost work days by cancer site. These figures were adjusted to account for inflation, higher costs in the
first year after diagnosis and differences in income per capita across countries. The adjusted estimate of income loss
per case was then multiplied by the estimated number of cases occurring among 15-64 year olds in 2010 and 2030,
adjusting for real income growth.
See the online appendix for detailed notes on the data sources and methods:
www.weforum.org/EconomicsOfNCDappendix
18
Table 3: Lung, breast and colorectal cancers dominate
Estimated number of new cancer cases by site and country income group, 2010
* “All sites” excludes non-melanoma skin cancer
What are the results?
As for incident cases, our study shows that there were an estimated 13.3 million new cases of cancer in 2010, with the
number projected to rise to 21.5 million in 2030 (See Tables 3 and 4). In 2010, the cancers with the most new cases
worldwide were lung (12.8% of new cases), breast (10.9%), colorectal (9.8%), stomach (7.8%), other sites (7.4%) and
prostate (7.1%). Cancers of the lung, breast and stomach ranked highly across all country income groups, but for some
other cancer sites, the pattern varied. For example, cervical cancer was responsible for 12% of new cancer cases in low-
income countries, but only 1% of new cases in high-income countries.
Number %% %%%Number Number Number Number
All sites* 13,313,111 100.0 631,527 100.0 2,298,066 100.04,986,434 100.05,165,899 100.0
Bladder 404,018 3.0 11,665 1.8 51,825 2.3118,970 2.4 213,592 4.1
Brain, nervous system 247,813 1.9 8,369 1.3 49,059 2.1111,661 2.2 75,458 1.5
Breast 1,450,792 10.9 65,916 10.4 294,075 12.8 425,749 8.5 636,356 12.3
Cervix uteri 553,236 4.2 76,034 12.0 230,069 10.0 189,401 3.8 54,326 1.1
Colorectum 1,302,167 9.8 30,720 4.9 137,469 6.0 420,221 8.4 682,243 13.2
Corpus uteri 303,458 2.3 6,026 1.0 36,683 1.6 137,308 2.8117,729 2.3
Gallbladder 153,143 1.2 7,356 1.2 28,198 1.2 54,202 1.1 61,645 1.2
Hodgkin lymphoma 69,958 0.5 6,149 1.0 19,250 0.8 20,242 0.4 23,543 0.5
Kaposi sarcoma 35,444 0.3 25,913 4.1 6,392 0.33,830 0.1110.0
Kidney 287,893 2.2 7,439 1.2 29,679 1.3 81,896 1.6 162,377 3.1
Larynx 159,115 1.2 8,343 1.3 43,598 1.9 57,485 1.2 47,394 0.9
Leukaemia 363,883 2.7 15,256 2.4 81,6113.6 130,937 2.6 130,800 2.5
Lip & oral cavity 276,754 2.1 21,598 3.4 110,401 4.8 60,586 1.2 77,244 1.5
Liver 789,424 5.9 40,102 6.3 106,939 4.7 494,173 9.9 132,989 2.6
Lung 1,697,640 12.8 48,733 7.7 183,925 8.0 765,233 15.3 666,593 12.9
Melanoma 209,493 1.6 4,875 0.8 10,123 0.4 29,641 0.6 160,056 3.1
Multiple myeloma 108,504 0.8 3,080 0.5 16,149 0.7 22,521 0.5 64,8111.3
Nasopharynx 88,275 0.7 4,980 0.8 29,280 1.3 45,562 0.96,878 0.1
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma 373,176 2.8 25,583 4.1 75,061 3.3 86,099 1.7 180,164 3.5
Oesophagus 508,728 3.8 31,755 5.0 76,831 3.3 318,957 6.4 75,606 1.5
Other pharynx 144,127 1.1 9,258 1.5 64,231 2.8 25,479 0.5 42,436 0.8
Other sites 987,509 7.4 91,212 14.4 299,751 13.0 290,853 5.8 294,672 5.7
Ovary 235,335 1.8 12,751 2.0 62,028 2.7 74,934 1.5 81,913 1.6
Pancreas 294,092 2.2 6,776 1.1 30,251 1.3 100,201 2.0 151,085 2.9
Prostate 950,672 7.1 18,355 2.9 65,280 2.8 207,913 4.2 643,476 12.5
Stomach 1,042,661 7.8 33,298 5.3 112,968 4.9 635,269 12.7 246,862 4.8
Testis 53,757 0.4 1,833 0.3 8,810 0.4 15,129 0.3 26,984 0.5
Thyroid 222,046 1.7 8,150 1.3 38,129 1.7 61,982 1.2 108,658 2.1
High income
countriesWorld
Low income
countries
Lower-middle
income countries
Upper-middle
income countries
19
Table 4: Cancer cases expected to increase sharply by 2030
Estimated number of new cancer cases by site and country income group, 2030
* “All sites” excludes non-melanoma skin cancer
These estimates assume that incidence will remain stable over time and that any increases in cancer cases result from
changes in population alone. Nor do they take into account changing epidemiological profiles or advances in cancer
therapy that may occur between now and the year 2030. Therefore, for some cancer sites, the figures here may be an
underestimate of the true burden in 2030, and for other cancer sites, these estimates may overestimate the future burden.
20
What about costs?
The 13.3 million new cases of cancer in 2010 were estimated to cost US$ 290 billion. Medical costs accounted for the
greatest share at US$ 154 billion (53% of the total), while non-medical costs and income losses accounted for US$
67 billion, and US$ 69 billion, respectively (See Table 5). The total costs were expected to rise to US$ 458 billion in the
year 2030 (see Table 6).
Table 5: Medical costs account for the largest share of cancer costs.
Estimated costs of new cancer cases by cancer site and cost component, 2010
(expressed in millions of 2010 US $)
* “All sites” excludes non-melanoma skin cancer; Kaposi Sarcoma not included due to lack of cost data.
** “Other sites” includes gallbladder cancer
Medical costs Non-medical costs Income losses Total
All sites* 153,697 67,072 68,969 289,737
Bladder 3,819 2,351 1,523 7,692
Brain, nervous
system 3,079 1,155 580 4,814
Breast 12,182 7,085 7,379 26,646
Cervix uteri 657 534 1,472 2,664
Colorectum
17,644 6,917 7,038 31,598
Corpus uteri 1,837 1,307 1,410 4,554
Hodgkin
lymphoma 687 301 450 1,438
Kidney 3,130 1,839 2,324 7,293
Larynx 845 542 553 1,941
Leukaemia 12,297 2,365 539 15,201
Lip oral cavity 1,872 1,007 893 3,772
Liver 4,176 1,700 5,773 11,648
Lung 28,877 10,903 12,068 51,848
Melanoma of skin 4,368 2,509 1,255 8,132
Multiple myeloma 3,232 1,159 225 4,616
Nasopharynx 208 104 201 512
Non-Hodgkin
lymphoma 7,226 2,711 1,414 11,351
Oesophagus 2,938 1,266 2,306 6,509
Other pharynx 1,446 647 403 2,496
Other sites** 12,293 5,411 1,867 19,571
Ovary 2,915 1,021 568 4,504
Pancreas 6,165 2,541 1,867 10,573
Prostate 14,602 7,200 750 22,552
Stomach 4,295 2,603 10,242 17,141
Testis 429 253 1,213 1,895
Thyroid 720 872 4,656 6,248
21
Table 6: Lung cancer is likely to remain the most costly.
Estimated costs of new cancer cases by cancer site and cost component, 2030
(expressed in millions of 2010 US $)
* “All sites” excludes non-melanoma skin cancer; Kaposi Sarcoma not included due to lack of cost data.
** “Other sites” includes gallbladder cancer
There are several costs that are not included in the estimates provided here: those due to mortality, to cancer cases
diagnosed before the given year, to cancer research and development or to pain and suffering. Given that these costs
are not accounted for, the figures presented here underestimate the total cost of cancer in a given year. Detailed notes on
data sources, methods and results can be found in the online appendix.
Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease is an overarching term that refers to a group of diseases involving the heart or blood vessels.
While there are many diseases in this classification, over 82% of the mortality burden is because of ischaemic or coronary
heart disease (IHD), stroke (both hemorrhagic and ischaemic), hypertensive heart disease or congestive heart failure
(CHF).
The cost of CVD in this report takes into account the cost of care for the major CVD conditions and their proximate risk
factors, as well as lost productivity owing to either premature death or significantly disabling disease (see Box 5). The
focus is on IHD, stroke and congestive heart failure as the leading drivers of cost through hospitalizations and need
for follow-up clinical care in addition to lost productivity from premature mortality, but costs include primary prevention
through hypertension and cholesterol management and screening. Previous estimates of the total cost of CVD have
been calculated only for select developed and developing countries or related to a single risk factor. This report, for the
first time, calculates estimates of the entire economic burden on a global scale (Gaziano et al., 2009; Lloyd-Jones, et al.,
2009; Pestana, Steyn, Leiman, & Hartzenberg, 1996; WHO, 2005a).
Medical costs Non-medical costs Income losses Total
All sites* 218,322 94,658 144,876 457,857
Bladder 5,886 3,623 2,473 11,982
Brain, nervous
system 3,975 1,491 1,095 6,561
Breast 15,278 8,886 10,896 35,060
Cervix uteri 779 633 3,239 4,651
Colorectum
25,403 9,959 11,792 47,153
Corpus uteri 2,386 1,698 2,625 6,709
Hodgkin lymphoma 802 352 630 1,784
Kidney 4,354 2,558 3,447 10,359
Larynx 1,185 760 999 2,944
Leukaemia 17,340 3,335 953 21,627
Lip oral cavity 2,567 1,381 1,434 5,382
Liver 5,870 2,390 20,510 28,770
Lung 42,940 16,212 24,048 83,201
Melanoma of skin 5,774 3,316 1,564 10,654
Multiple myeloma 4,760 1,706 327 6,793
Nasopharynx 269 135 654 1,057
Non-Hodgkin
lymphoma 10,220 3,835 2,059 16,114
Oesophagus 4,219 1,817 7,868 13,905
17,551 7,682 3,921 29,155
Other sites**
Other pharynx 1,879 840 622 3,341
Ovary 3,750 1,313 930 5,993
Pancreas 8,978 3,701 3,087 15,765
Prostate 22,258 10,975 1,017 34,249
Stomach 6,019 3,648 30,500 40,167
Testis 445 263 1,510 2,217
Thyroid 835 1,012 6,677 8,525
22
Table 7: Cardiovascular disease costs could rise by 22% by 2030
Global costs attributable to CVD, and CVD incidence (in 1000s), selected years: 2010-2030
On a regional basis, as Table 8 shows, the low-mortality, high-income regions – Europe and parts of the Americas – had
the highest overall costs, whereas the high-mortality, low-income regions had the lowest costs.
Box 5: Cardiovascular disease model
This model divides the costs of CVD into five broad categories: screening, primary prevention, secondary prevention,
acute hospital care and lost productivity. The analysis was restricted to data available for WHO regions and is meant to
be as exhaustive as possible given the data available.
Productivity losses were estimated by first determining the annual expected number deaths from IHD, stroke,
hypertensive heart disease and CHF. Using estimates from Leeder et al. (Leeder, Raymond, & Greenberg, 2004), which
estimated the proportions of CVD deaths that are predicted to occur between the ages of 35-64, the number of deaths
in each region were calculated based on these estimates using a representative country from that study for each
region. Then, assuming an average age of event of 55 in this population and a value for the regional unemployment
rate, the net present value of lost wages was calculated. CVD rates were assumed to be independent of employment
status, which may over- or underestimate the total. In addition, lost productivity was taken into account for those
with permanently disabling stroke, advanced CHF and severe angina. Finally, lost work time for seeking care in the
outpatient setting and during hospitalizations was included.
The above costs were then projected for each year between 2011 and 2030, assuming the changing age
demographics based on estimates from the UN Population Division. For this analysis, incidence rates, risk factor
estimates, and hospitalization and treatment rates were held constant, while absolute numbers were adjusted to
account for increases in the adult population.
The costs of managing hypertension and abnormal cholesterol values are addressed in this model, although diabetes
management and smoking cessation are not. More details on the data sources, methods and results can be found in
the online appendix.
Year Total cost (billions
of US$)
CHF
incidence IHD incidence Stroke incidence
2010 863 10,072 24,167 28,299
2015 906 10,821 25,933 30,370
2020 957 11,830 28,284 33,122
2025 1,002 12,754 30,369 35,571
2030 1,044 13,637 32,339 37,886
Total, all years, 2010-2030 = 20,032 (billions of US$)
So what are the results?
In 2010, the global cost of CVD is estimated at US$ 863 billion (an average per capita cost of US$ 125), and it is
estimated to rise to US$ 1,044 billion in 2030 – an increase of 22% (see Table 7). Overall, the cost for CVD could be
as high as US$ 20 trillion over the 20-year period (an average per capita cost of nearly US$ 3,000). Currently about
US$ 474 billion (55%) is due to direct healthcare costs and the remaining 45% to productivity loss from disability or
premature death, or time loss from work because of illness or the need to seek care.
23
Table 8: Richer countries currently shoulder higher costs
Costs attributable to CVD in 2010 by WHO sub-region (billions of US$, except per capita values)
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
The term chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a group of progressive lung diseases that make it
difficult to breathe (e.g. bronchitis and emphysema). It is one of the main forms of chronic respiratory disease (which also
includes asthma).
The cost-of-illness estimate for COPD represents the total direct and indirect costs for 185 WHO member countries,
which constitute over 95% of the world’s population as well as over 95% of the world’s GDP (see Box 6).
Box 6: COPD model
The first stage of analysis involved the estimation of country-specific prevalence rates. Prevalence figures were imputed
by conducting a regression including mean age, real GDP per capita, smoking prevalence in the adult population and
CO2 emission from solid fuel consumption. Prevalence was assumed to remain constant over the time period 2010-
2030; however, total population varied according to population projections from the United Nations Population Division.
In the literature, it is predicted that most countries will experience increases in overall COPD prevalence (Global Initiative
for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, 2010; Halbert, Isonaka, George, & Iqbal, 2003; Mannino & Buist, 2007; Nielsen,
et al., 2009). Therefore, the estimates presented here are most likely an underestimation of the true COI for COPD in
2030.
The direct cost of illness included the cost of care in the four stages of COPD (adjusted based on GDP per capita
for countries where data was missing), as well as that of exacerbations, which are extremely common in stages 3
and 4 of the disease. Indirect costs include lost income due to foregone productivity of people with COPD and their
family caretakers. The indirect costs and direct costs were summed and adjusted upward by 3.6%, a summary
cost percentage of ‘other, non-personal, indirect costs of COPD’ from several other studies (The Australian Lung
Foundation, 2008).
*Total costs in US$ (not in billions of US$).
Note: WHO Member States are grouped into 6 geographic regions: AFRO (Africa), AMRO (Americas), EMRO (Eastern Mediterranean), EURO (Europe), SEARO
(South-East Asia) and WPRO (Western Pacific). The six WHO regions are further divided based on patterns of child and adult mortality in groups ranging from A
(lowest) to E (highest): AFRO (D,E); AMRO (A,B,D); EMRO (B,D); EURO (A,B,C); SEARO (B,D); WPRO (A,B). For more information, see WHO, 2011c.
WHO
Region
Total Costs
(without
productivity
costs)
Productivity
Costs
Total Costs
(including
productivity
costs)
Per capita
total
costs*
Per capita
total costs*
(adults only)
AFR-D 2.9 3.0 5.9 15 47
AFR-E 4.1 1.7 5.7 13 43
AMR-A 165.9 108.2 274.0 736 1,206
AMR-B 8.8 17.2 26.0 52 108
AMR-D 0.9 2.1 3.1 36 91
EMR-B 4.2 7.8 12.0 70 160
EMR-D 3.5 2.9 6.3 14 41
EUR-A 197.0 90.2 287.1 627 924
EUR-B 7.5 51.1 58.6 265 501
EUR-C 7.8 39.1 46.9 194 309
SEAR-B 3.8 6.1 9.9 29 59
SEAR-D 11.3 9.5 20.8 14 32
WPR-A 36.5 26.1 62.7 372 527
WPR-B 19.8 24.7 44.4 27 48
Total 473.9 389.6 863.5
24
Table 9: Developing countries will share the growing COPD bill
Global Cost of Illness for COPD in 2010 and 2030. Costs shown in billions of 2010 US$
What are the costs of COPD?
The global cost of illness for COPD will rise from US$ 2.1 trillion in 2010 to US$ 4.8 trillion in 2030. Approximately half
of all global costs for COPD arise in developing countries (see Table 9).
Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus, commonly referred to simply as diabetes, is a metabolic disorder in which the body is unable to
appropriately regulate the level of sugar, specifically glucose, in the blood. It affects a large number of individuals
worldwide, with this number expected to continue to grow dramatically in the years ahead. The cost approach here takes
into account direct costs, disability costs, and mortality costs (see Box 7).
Box 7: Diabetes model
Estimates of the direct cost of illness are taken from the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas 2010, which
reports estimates on a country-by-country basis. These estimates are based on the medical care costs of people with
diabetes, above and beyond those of people without. As such, they will also reflect medical costs that are associated
with other health conditions that are complications of diabetes. This report does not undertake to adjust the diabetes
cost data for this component of double counting. Lost income associated with diabetes mortality is estimated based
on parameter estimates in extant literature that indicate that people with diabetes lose 8% of potential work time in low-
and middle-income countries, and 2% of potential work time in high-income countries. Lost income associated with
diabetes mortality is estimated assuming that people who die of diabetes do not work at all in the year in which they
die. Diabetes prevalence and mortality data for 2010 are also taken from the Diabetes Atlas 2010, as are projections of
diabetes prevalence to 2030. Diabetes mortality is projected to 2030 assuming the same ratio of deaths to prevalence
in 2030 as in 2010 (International Diabetes Federation, 2010).
So what are the results?
Diabetes cost the global economy nearly US$ 500 billion in 2010, and that figure is projected to rise to at least
US$ 745 billion in 2030, with developing countries increasingly taking on a much greater share of the outlays.
Low - and Middle-Income
Countries High-Income Countries World
Direct
Costs
Indirect
Costs
Overall
Cost of
Illness
Direct
Costs
Indirect
Costs
Overall
Cost of
Illness
Direct
Costs
Indirect
Costs
Overall
Cost of
Illness
2010 1,004 74 1,077 874 157 1,030 1,878 230 2,108
2030 2,328 255 2,583 2,001 212 2,213 4,329 468 4,796
For 2010, most of the costs were direct, more than half of which came from the United States. Of the direct costs, 90%
were accounted for by countries classified as high-income by the World Bank, which have roughly 26% of the total
population of people with diabetes (see Table 10). The 40% of people with diabetes in low- and lower-middle income
countries, by contrast, accounted for barely 1.7% of direct expenditures.
In 2030, indirect costs will take up a much larger share than at present, mostly because of a steep rise in disability costs
in upper middle-income countries (see Table 11). The overall distribution of costs is also expected to change, with the
great majority of spending occurring outside of high-income countries. Nearly US$ 300 billion of direct costs are expected
to come from low- and lower-middle income countries, which will constitute 45% of all diabetes cases. However, it should
be noted that the 2030 overall estimate may be low because for some countries it was not possible to estimate indirect
costs for 2030.
25
Table 10: High-income countries currently pay most of the costs of diabetes…
Cost of diabetes 2010, 2010 US$
Table 11: … but middle-income countries will take over in 2030
Cost of diabetes 2030, 2010 US$
Income
Group
Direct
Costs
(Billions)
Disability
Costs
(Billions)
Mortality
Costs
(Billions)
# of People
with
Diabetes
(Millions)
Direct
Costs as
% of
World
Total
Indirect
Costs as %
of World
Total
People
with
Diabetes
as % of
World
total
High $341.5 $41.7 $5.8 74.7 90.8 49.8 26.2
Upper
Middle $28.1 $33.1 $2.1 96.1 7.5 36.8 33.8
Lower
Middle $6.0 $11.3 $0.8 97.5 1.6 12.6 34.3
Low $0.4 $0.7 $0.1 16.2 0.1 0.8 5.7
Total $376 $86.8 $8.8 284.5
100.0100.0 100.0
Income
Group
Direct
Costs
(Billions)
Disability
Costs
(Billions)
Mortality
Costs
(Billions)
# of People
with
Diabetes
(Millions)
Direct
Costs as
% of
World
Total
Indirect
Costs as %
of World
Total
People
with
Diabetes
as % of
World
total
High $123.6 $54.3 $7.2 92.6 25.4 24.1 21.2
Upper
Middle
$55.8 $131.9 $9.5 143.7 11.5 55.4 32.8
Lower
Middle
$294.5 $44.8 $4.4 170.0 60.6 19.3 38.9
Low $12.2 $2.6 $0.6 30.9 2.5 1.3 7.1
Total $486.1 $233.6 $21.6 437.2
100.0100.0 100.0
26
Mental Illness
Mental health conditions are the leading cause of DALYs worldwide and account for 37% of healthy life years lost from
NCDs (WHO, 2011a). Among these conditions, unipolar depressive disorder, alcohol use disorders and schizophrenia
constitute the greatest global burden in terms of disability (see Table 12).
Table 12: Mental illness disrupts lives
Disability-Adjusted Life Years associated with mental health conditions
Previous reviews have shown that strong data exist for countries like the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia,
but there is a dearth of cost data for mental health expenditures in developing countries (Hu, 2004). Further, less than
70% of all WHO countries have mental health programmes, and even fewer have designated mental health budgets within
their national healthcare system (WHO, 2003, 2005b). Nevertheless, lost productivity and the social burden of mental
illness, even in the absence of designated mental health spending, are substantial across the globe. The lack of mental
health cost studies from LMICs reflects a lack of recognition of mental illness, lack of funding, data and training (Hu,
2004).
WHO estimates that 25% of all patients using a health service suffer from at least one mental, neurological or behavioral
disorder, most of which are undiagnosed or untreated. Further, there is a two-way relationship between mental illnesses
and other chronic conditions: the existence of a different chronic condition (as well as HIV/AIDS) exacerbates the risk of
developing a mental disorder, and vice versa. In addition to the lack of diagnosis and systematic mental health plans,
mental illness suffers from societal stigma, constituting an immense barrier to treatment and access to services. Further,
WHO estimates that the majority of low- and middle-income countries devote less than 1% of their health budget to
mental healthcare.
In the cost-of-illness estimates reported here, as a result of the paucity of national COI estimates to ground the analysis,
major assumptions are that each country in fact provides and spends funds on mental health treatment and that the
disease burden is driven by population size, mean age of the population and level of economic development. Another
major assumption, as is the case with all other COI estimates, is that the prevalence of mental illnesses is the same in
the year 2010 as it will be in 2030 (see Box 8). Overall, the cost of mental health conditions was estimated for 184 WHO
countries.
Source: (WHO, 2008)
Note: Shaded conditions are not taken into account in this study; DALYs listed here do not
include the following two categories: lead-caused mental retardation and “other” neuropsychiatric
disorders.
DALYs
(millions)
% mental
health DALYs,
world
All Neuropsychiatric disorders 199
Unipolar depressive disorders 65 32.9
Bipolar affective disorder 14 7.2
Schizophrenia 17 8.4
Epilepsy 8 3.9
Alcohol use disorders 24 11.9
Alzheimer and other dementias 11 5.6
Parkinson disease 2 0.9
Multiple sclerosis 2 0.8
Drug use disorders 8 4.2
Post-traumatic stress disorder 3 1.7
Obsessive-compulsive disorder 5 2.6
Panic disorder 7 3.5
Insomnia (primary) 4 1.8
Migraine 8 3.9
27
Box 8: Mental illness model
This report presents a global summary estimate of the costs of all mental health conditions. The estimated overall
global cost of mental illness was partially based on data from a systematic review of the costs of overall mental
illness (Hu, 2006). From this review, which included studies between 1990 and 2003, national costs for mental health
conditions were included for the United States, China, Kenya and Australia. Since the publication of that systematic
review, national studies of the cost of mental illness were published for Canada, the United Kingdom and France, and
were included in the cost estimations.
To arrive at the global COI of all mental health conditions, existing cost estimates were converted to 2010 and 2030
estimates from their base year by multiplying the costs in the base year with an annual growth rate adjustment
factor. This adjustment factor was calculated based on the average growth per year between 2000 and 2010. These
estimates were regressed on real GDP per capita to impute the data missing for other countries. The estimates
assume no change in prevalence from 2010 to 2030.
So what are the results?
The global cost of mental health conditions in 2010 was estimated at US$ 2.5 trillion, with the cost projected to
surge to US$ 6.0 trillion by 2030 (see Table 13). About two-thirds of the total cost comes from indirect costs and the
remainder from direct costs (Table 13). Currently, high-income countries shoulder about 65% of the burden, which is
not expected to change over the next 20 years.
Overall, the cost-of-illness studies demonstrate the following:
(1) The current costs of NCDs are very high, ranging from hundreds of billions of US dollars to trillions of US dollars
in one year alone. In spite of the differences in how the COI method was applied to the five categories of NCD, the
results tell us that the current economic impact is indeed considerable.
(2) These costs are projected to grow as populations increase and age over the next two decades. Given our
assumptions that rates of disease are constant over time, the projected costs presented here may be underestimates
of the true future burden. Many risk factors for the major NCDs are increasing worldwide and have a delayed impact on
development of disease. The effects of such changing risk factor profiles will not be seen until decades from now and
are not reflected in the estimates presented here.
(3) Productivity losses due to death or disability are substantial. Productivity losses make up a sizeable portion
of total NCD costs, with a considerable variation across NCDs. Given that NCDs are largely chronic, require long-
term management, affect work attendance due to disability and care-seeking, and take people prematurely out of the
workforce, the impact of NCDs on productivity is notable.
Table 13: Mental illness costs expected to more than double by 2030
Global cost of mental health conditions in 2010 and 2030. Costs shown in billions of 2010 US$
Low- and Middle-Income
Countries High-Income Countries World
Direct
Costs
Indirect
Costs
Total
Cost of
Illness
Direct
Costs
Indirect
Costs
Total
Cost of
Illness
Direct
Costs
Indirect
Costs
Total
Cost of
Illness
2010 287 583 870 536 1,088 1,624 823 1,671 2,493
2030 697 1,416 2,113 1,298 2,635 3,933 1,995 4,051 6,046
Given the strengths and weaknesses in the COI approach, two other approaches for evaluating the economic burden of
NCDs are presented in the following sections.
28
Box 9: How the EPIC tool works
The EPIC tool was developed by the World Health Organization to simulate the economic impact of diseases on
aggregate economic output (Abegunde & Stanciole, 2006). The centrepiece of the model is a standard economic
growth model that relates aggregate output to capital and labor inputs, as mediated by technology. NCDs are
introduced into the model by assuming they deplete both capital and labour. Capital is depleted by the diversion of
savings from the increase of physical capital to healthcare consumption associated with NCDs. Labour is depleted
by NCD mortality and morbidity.11 In our study, the economic burden is estimated for five conditions in 169 countries
for 2011-2030: ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, COPD and breast cancer. The estimates
are based on WHO projections of the mortality trajectory associated with these five conditions, as well as on WHO
estimates of labour force participation rates and imputed rates of technological progress constructed as part of this
project.
Note: EPIC calculates lost output on a disease- and country-specific basis in 1997 international (PPP-adjusted) dollars.
This report adjusts the EPIC results so that they are (a) expressed in 2010 US$ (not PPP adjusted); (b) scaled up to
reflect a global total; (c) scaled up using WHO data on DALYs to reflect the four NCDs that are the focus of the UN
NCD Summit; and (d) scaled up further, using WHO data on mental illness DALYs, to include estimates of economic
losses from mental health conditions.
NCDs Economic
Output US$
Capital
Labour
11 The model does not allow for human capital, nor does it allow endogenous technological progress (owing to R&D spending) or the rate of savings to be
influenced by NCD mortality. The model builds in an assumption that technology improves by 1% every year in every country (that is, the same labour and capital
inputs will result in 1% higher output in period t+1 than in period t). The aggregate figures reported in this report are based on 169 countries. The technology
parameter needed to implement the model is contained within EPIC for 101 countries. This parameter was imputed for the remaining 68 countries based on the
relationship between income per capita and the technology parameter.
2.2 Approach 2: Value of Lost Output
The second approach uses WHO’s EPIC tool, which quantifies global economic losses from NCDs by relating
projected NCD mortality rates in a population to current and future economic output at the national level (see Box 9). In
this approach, the emphasis is the impact of NCD mortality on GDP.
29
Four results stand out:
(1) There will be a huge global loss in output. Over the period 2011-2030, the total lost output from the four NCD
conditions that are the focus of the UN High-Level meeting and mental health conditions is projected to be nearly US$
47 trillion (see Table 14). This loss, divided by the 20-year period, is equivalent to about 5% of global GDP in 2010.
(2) Mental health conditions and cardiovascular diseases cost the most. Together, mental health and
cardiovascular diseases account for almost 70% of lost output, followed by cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and
diabetes (see Figure 3a).
(3) The higher the income, the higher the burden. The high-income countries bear the highest absolute burden
of lost output (see Figure 3b), reflecting their high income (which is lost when people are sick). Upper-middle-income
countries (a group that includes China) have the second highest burden, followed by lower-middle income (a group that
includes India). Low-income countries have the lowest burden because the value of lost earnings in this group is low
and the total population of this group is much smaller than that of the middle-income countries.
(4) By 2030, total output losses will soar. Cumulative NCD losses will of course steadily rise over the next 20 years,
but the rate of increase will pick up sharply by 2030. (see Figure 4)
Table 14: The anticipated economic toll of NCDs is staggering
Economic burden of NCDs, 2011-2030 (trillions of US$ 2010), based on EPIC model 112
*The numbers for mental illness were obtained by relating the economic burden of all other diseases to their associated number of DALYs. Then the burden for
mental illness was projected using the relative size of the corresponding DALY numbers to all the other conditions.
12 This study uses the 2011 World Bank classifications distinguishing low-, middle- and high-income countries, with middle-income countries further subdivided
into lower-middle and upper-middle. Categorization depends on a country’s gross national income per capita. This report refers to low-, lower-middle- and upper-
middle-income countries collectively as LMICs.
Country income
group Diabetes Cardiovascular
diseases
Chronic
Respiratory
diseases
Cancer Mental
Illness* Total
High 0.9 8.5 1.6 5.4 9.0 25.5
Upper-middle 0.6 4.8 2.2 2.3 5.1 14.9
Lower-middle 0.2 2.0 0.9 0.5 1.9 5.5
Low 0.0 0.3 0.1 0.1 0.3 0.9
LMIC 0.8 7.1 3.2 2.9 7.3 21.3
World 1.7 15.6 4.8 8.3 16.3 46.7
30
Figure 3a: Mental health and cardiovascular diseases are top drivers of lost output
Breakdown of NCD cost by disease type, based on EPIC model
Figure 3b: High-income countries lose the most output
Breakdown of NCD cost by income level, based on EPIC model
High Income
54%
Upper-middle income
32%
Lower-middle
Income
12%
Low Income
2%
31
2.3 Approach 3: Value of a Statistical Life
Tradeoffs between risks and money – and the fact that people make these every day in many facets of their lives – is the
key insight underlying the value of statistical life (VSL) approach to estimating the cost of ill-health (Johansson, 2001).
The wage premium someone receives to accept a job with an abnormally high risk of injury or death is one example of
such a tradeoff. The extra amount of money someone spends to consume a healthier diet is another. The VSL approach
quantifies the relationship between money and the risk of disability or death. The quantification is done either by analyzing
observed tradeoffs (as is done in labour market studies that relate wage levels to injury risks) or hypothetical preferences
(as in surveys that ask people how much they would be willing to pay to avoid a particular risk or how much money they
would require to take on that risk).
Take the case of a pool of homogeneous workers who face two job opportunities (A and B) that are identical in all ways
except that one job (A) has an annual occupational-fatality risk of 3 in 10,000, while the other job (B) has a corresponding
fatality risk that is lower: 2 in 10,000. Suppose further that the annual market wage for job A is $500 more than for job B.
The rate of compensation for risk is commonly expressed as a “value per statistical life”. In this example, VSL = $5 million
( = $500/[(3-2)/10,000]). Since workers in job B are willing to pay US$ 500 per year for the lower risk of mortality, 10,000
such workers would together be willing to give up US$ 5 million per year to prevent one expected death among them.
In principle, the VSL approach accounts for lost income (post-tax), out-of-pocket spending on (or related to) medical care
and the cost people associate with pain and suffering and the intrinsic value of life (see Box 10). This contrasts with the
COI and EPIC approaches, neither of which account for pain and suffering or the intrinsic value of life. In addition, the COI
and EPIC approaches, in principle, focus on output losses pre-tax and different aspects of medical care costs.
Figure 4: Output losses will speed up over time
(Breakdown of NCD cost by disease, based on EPIC model)
32
Box 10: How the VSL approach works
The VSL approach is used to estimate the economic burden of NCDs in 2010 and to project that burden in 2030.
Separate analyses are conducted for five specific NCDs: cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes,
cancer and mental health; and also for a category of all NCDs. In terms of 2004 DALYs, the five conditions – CVD,
COPD, diabetes, cancer and mental health – account for 55% of all NCD DALYs. The aggregate figures reported in the
accompanying tables are based on the 155 countries for which the requisite data are available. Omitted countries tend
to have extremely small populations.
Constructing the VSL estimates/projections requires the estimation of DALYs in 2010 and 2030. This was done by (1)
fitting a zero-intercept cross-country regression of DALYs for the six different categories of health conditions in 2004
(the most recent year for which data are available) on 2004 population (and its square), the share of population aged
65+, and GDP per capita in 2004 (in exchange rate terms); (2) estimating GDP per capita in 2010 (2030) by applying
the average annual growth rate during 2000-2009 to GDP per capita in 2005; and (3) using the estimated parameters
from the regression to extrapolate 2004 DALYs to 2010 and 2030.
An alternative (rule-of-thumb) approximation for directly valuing DALYs is also implemented. This approximation
was originally suggested by the WHO Commission on Macroeconomics and Health. It recommends valuing DALYs
at between one and three times GDP per capita (referred to as CMH1 and CMH3, respectively) (World Health
Organization, 2001). Constructing the CMH1 and CMH3 estimates/projections simply involves multiplying 2010 and
2030 DALYs by the relevant multiple (1 or 3) of income per capita in 2010 and 2030, respectively. The per capita
GDP for 2010 and 2030 was obtained by extrapolating the mean rate of growth over the last 10 years and using the
latest available actual numbers (for the year 2009) from the World Development Indicators database as a basis for the
projection.
Constructing the VSL estimates/projections requires estimating VSL for a large group of countries. This is done by
regressing VSL estimates (in US$ 2000) for 12 countries reported in Viscusi and Aldy (Viscusi & Aldy, 2003) on GDP
per capita (in US$ 2000) and life expectancy at birth (from the UN Population Division). The parameter estimates are
then applied to estimates of GDP per capita in 2010 (2030) and life expectancy data in 2010 (2030) for all countries to
impute VSL estimates for countries where no studies existed in Viscusi and Aldy (Viscusi & Aldy, 2003). The GDP per
capita estimates for 2010 and 2030 are calculated using the same procedure as described in the notes to the CMH
calculations.
The VSL data are taken to be the value of life of a representative median-aged member of the corresponding national
population. For example, consider a population in which life expectancy at birth is 80, median age is 30, and VSL is
US$ 3 million. Suppose further that a 50 year old dies unexpectedly and suddenly. This death contributes 30 DALYs,
and an economic loss of US$ 1.8 million (= [30/(80-30)] * US$ 3 million).
The CMH1, CMH3 and VSL figures reported herein may be interpreted as the total future cost of incident NCD cases in
2010 (2030).
What did the VSL approach show for the economic burden of NCDs? Three results stand out:
(1) The economic burden of life lost because of NCDs will double from 2010 to 2030, as measured by three
very different yardsticks (see Figure 5). That said, the economic burden estimates vary widely, by a factor of more than
6– from 2010 US$ 3.6 to 22.8 trillion in 2010, and from 2010 US$ 6.7 to 43.4 trillion in 2030. The upper end of these
estimates looms exceedingly large, representing a notable and growing fraction of 2010 GDP, but even at the lower
end, these estimates for 2010 and 2030 are sizable (Table 15).
(2) High-income countries will bear the biggest burden. In 2010, high-income countries will bear the dominant
share of lost output, reflecting their high income and relatively older populations. But the upper-middle-income
countries will take on a much bigger share in 2030 – owing to the size and growth of their income and their overall and
older populations – beginning to rival the high-income countries (Figure 6).
(3) Mental illness and cardiovascular diseases are the largest problems. By disease, mental illness will account
for the largest share of the economic burden in both 2010 and 2030, just slightly greater than cardiovascular diseases
(Table 16). They are followed by cancer, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes.
33
Figure 5: NCD cost burden likely to double by 2030
(CMH1, CMH3 and VSL estimates*)
*The CMH1 method refers to multiplying DALYs by one times GDP per capita; the CMH3 method refers to multiplying DALYs by three times GDP per capita.
Table 15: By all measurements, the cost burden will be sizable
Value of life lost due to NCDs, by estimation method and income group (trillions of 2010 US$)
2010
Total
(CMH1)
2030
Total
(CMH1)
2010
Total
(CMH3)
2030
Total
(CMH3)
2010
Total
(VSL)
2030
Total
(VSL)
High
Income 2.7 3.4 8.0 10.3 14.8 19.7
Upper
Middle
Income
0.7 2.6 2.1 7.8 5.1 17.4
Lower
Middle
Income
0.2 0.6 0.6 1.9 2.4 5.3
Low
Income 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.5 1.0
World 3.6 6.7 10.7 20.2 22.8 43.4
34
Figure 6: Upper middle-income countries will take on a bigger share of lost output
Comparison of VSL losses in 2010 and 2030, to 2010 GDP, by income group (trillions of 2010 US$)
Table 16: Mental illness hits output hard
Breakdown of output losses by disease type and income category, 2010 and 2030, trillions (2010
US$), using the VSL approach
2010
Cancer
Chronic
respiratory
disease
Cardio-
vascular
diseases
Diabetes Mental
Illness Total
High
Income 1.7 1.5 5.4 0.7 5.5 14.8
Upper
Middle
Income
0.6 0.5 1.9 0.3 1.9 5.1
Lower
Middle
Income
0.3 0.2 0.9 0.1 0.9 2.4
Low
Income 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.0 0.2 0.5
World 2.5 2.4 8.3 1.2 8.5 22.8
2030
Cancer
Chronic
respiratory
disease
Cardio-
vascular
diseases
Diabetes Mental
Illness Total
High
Income
2.2 2.0 7.2 1.0 7.3 19.7
Upper
Middle
Income
1.9 1.8 6.3 0.9 6.5 17.4
Lower
Middle
Income
0.6 0.5 1.9 0.3 2.0 5.3
Low
Income
0.1 0.1 0.4 0.0 0.4 1.0
World
4.9 4.5 15.8 2.2 16.1 43.4
35
The health community and the business community are both concerned about the burden of NCDs and its likely growth in
coming decades. By contrast, this issue is just barely on the radar screen of economic policy-makers, who most often do
not see that NCDs pose a threat to development, economic growth and poverty alleviation.
If this report is correct in its assessment of the economic threat posed by NCDs, then the evidence it has marshalled
will be useful to the world’s economic leaders – top government officials, including finance ministers and their economic
advisors – who control large amounts of spending at the national level and who have the power to react to the
tremendous economic threat posed by NCDs. Two points are key here:
First, in economic terms, NCDs matter significantly. At the national level, treatment expenses can be high and the loss of
labour due to chronic disease can make a substantial dent in a country’s productive capacity. Ongoing improvements in
economic well-being can be seriously impeded by widespread chronic disease.
Second, the human and economic burdens of NCDs can both be contained by devoting resources directly or indirectly
to prevention, screening, treatment and care. In other words, health spending is not predominantly consumption. A large
portion of health spending is appropriately viewed as investment – one that yields a handsome rate of return.
The key premise of this report is that expressing the burden of NCDs in dollar terms – not just human terms – gives
economic leaders the ability to consider the effects of NCDs in terms that they most often use. And the evidence is clear:
NCDs impose a substantial economic burden today, which will evolve into a staggering economic burden over the next
two decades (see Box 11).
Box 11: The NCD cost tally
Three different approaches were applied to estimate this burden, and although none of the results are comparable for
reasons described above, all approaches yield dauntingly large numbers.
• Cost-of-illness approach: estimates of direct and indirect costs of ill health for five distinct disease categories are:
- Cancer: an estimated US$ 290 billion in 2010 rising to US$ 458 billion in 2030.
- Cardiovascular disease: an estimated US$ 863 billion in 2010 rising to US$ 1.04 trillion in 2030.
- COPD: an estimated US$ 2.1 trillion in 2010 US$ rising to US$ 4.8 trillion in 2030.
- Diabetes: an estimated nearly US$ 500 billion in 2010 rising to at least US$ 745 billion in 2030.
- Mental illness: an estimated US$ 2.5 trillion in 2010 rising to US$ 6.0 trillion by 2030.
• EPIC approach: lost output from five conditions (cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases,
diabetes and mental health) over the period 2011-2030 is estimated at nearly US$ 47 trillion.
• VSL approach: the economic burden of life lost due to all NCDs ranges from US$ 22.8 trillion in 2010 to US$ 43.3
trillion in 2030.
3. Conclusion
36
Who bears the economic burden? This study shows that although high-income countries bear the highest absolute cost
currently, the developing world – especially upper middle-income countries – will be assuming a large share of the tab as
their economies and populations continue to grow and their populations age. These hefty sums can be put in perspective
by looking at health outlays. World expenditure on health in 2009 totalled US$ 5.1 trillion (US$ 754 per capita)13, of
which 61% was spent by public entities. The vast majority of this expenditure (US$ 4.4 trillion) took place in high-income
countries, where spending per capita was US$ 3,971 and the share of public spending was 62% of the total. At the other
end of the spectrum, low-income countries spent an average of US$ 21 per capita, of which 42% was supplied by public
entities. And if trillions still seem unfathomable, Box 12 shows some further comparisons.
Box 12: Putting trillions into context
Estimates in the trillions of dollars can be brought down to earth by making simple comparisons. Where this report
refers to costs in a single year, the relevant comparisons are single-year costs. In this respect, it is interesting to note
that total global health spending in 2009 was US$ 5.1 trillion, and the entire annual GDP of low-income countries is less
than US$ 1 trillion.
For those figures that express NCD costs over a 20-year period, a useful comparison is that 2.5 billion people living
on less than US$ 2 per day would need US$ 18 trillion in transfers to bring them above the poverty line for 20 years
(assuming that each, on average, needs US$ 1 to reach the US$ 2 per day level). Even more striking is the fact that the
total amount of overseas development assistance delivered during the past 20 years is less than US$ 2 trillion.
13 These and other cost figures throughout this report are expressed in 2010 US$.
It is important to reiterate that, for several reasons, the various methods for estimating the economic burden of NCDs
yield results that are not comparable to each other. It is equally important to highlight the fact that implementing each
of these methods required us to make numerous assumptions – assumptions that can be challenged and that we
cannot test. Nevertheless, the results presented here give a sense of the magnitude of the economic burden of NCDs.
Further refinement of methods, and better data, will be needed to obtain a more reliable sense of the cost of NCDs.
Understanding these costs is crucial in judging the priority of addressing NCDs.
Research is also needed into the net future benefits of NCD interventions aimed at prevention, early detection, treatment
and care. These net benefits will depend on the implications of alternative interventions for (1) the length and quality of
additional years of life, (2) employment, earnings and pension recipiency during those additional years, (3) the cost of
the interventions, and (4) medical and non-medical care costs associated with other health conditions that will eventually
ensue. The results will also depend on whether one adopts a social or private perspective, the degree of tolerance for
uncertainty and risk, and the relative value placed on short-term versus longer-term costs and benefits.
So, how should NCDs be tackled? There is no shortage of knowledge with respect to the best ways to do this. Dietary
changes (for example, reduced consumption of salt and increased consumption of fruit and vegetables); increased
physical activity; cessation of smoking and harmful use of alcohol (perhaps by increased tobacco and alcohol taxes,
and through information, education and communication campaigns); and transforming medical training to address the
changing nature of disease burdens are all options to prevent and manage NCDs, including mental illness. Increasingly,
the literature is pointing to the potential of mental health interventions to improve clinical and economic outcomes in
low- and middle-income countries (Lund, et al., 2011; Patel, et al., 2011). Of course, many other interventions may also
contribute to the effort to reduce NCDs (World Health Organization, 2004, 2010a, 2010b).
It will be essential to involve a wide range of stakeholders in the implementation of interventions. The private sector, in
particular, has a key role to play. For example, private industry can develop new technologies to prevent, diagnose and
treat NCDs, market healthy products and make existing food products healthier. Also, setting priorities is a must, given
that in most countries resources for health are very limited. For policy-makers, that will mean taking into consideration the
current and projected burden of disease, cost-effectiveness of proposed interventions, the equity of and relative feasibility
of competing options and short-term political considerations.
In response to this need, in the lead-up to the UN High-Level Meeting in mid-September 2011, WHO has assembled
evidence on different interventions and identified a set of “best buys” that are cost-effective, feasible and appropriate for
use in LMICs (see Table 17) (WHO, 2011a). It is also providing a costing tool to enable countries to assess substitute
interventions that fit national circumstances.
37
This list of “best buy” interventions for NCD prevention and control can be complemented by efforts to reduce the burden
of NCDs on individuals and families. In particular, design and implementation of more cost-effective models of care
(perhaps ones that rely less on family members and more on trained professionals) may make a substantial difference to
those most immediately affected by NCDs.
A final thought: Economic policy-makers are naturally concerned about economic growth. The evidence presented in
this report indicates that it would be illogical and irresponsible to care about economic growth and simultaneously ignore
NCDs. Interventions in this area will undeniably be costly. But inaction is likely to be far more costly.
Table 17: “Best Buy” interventions for NCD prevention and control
^"
Risk factor /
disease Interventions
Tobacco use Tax increases
Smoke-free indoor workplaces and public places
Health information and warnings
Bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
Harmful alcohol
use
Tax increases
Restricted access to retailed alcohol
Bans on alcohol advertising
Unhealthy diet &
physical inactivity
Reduced salt intake in food
Replacement of trans fat with polyunsaturated fat
Public awareness via mass media about diet and physical activity
Cardiovascular
disease (CVD) and
diabetes
Counseling and multi-drug therapy for people with a high risk of
developing heart attacks and strokes (including those with established
CVD)
Treatment of heart attacks with aspirin
Cancer Hepatitis B immunization to prevent liver cancer (already scaled-up)
Screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions to prevent cervical
cancer
38
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42
• Table 1: Companies favour tackling smoking and alcohol
Percentage of companies that have established and implemented policies and programmes to combat NCDs
• Table 2: How the COI method is applied to five different NCDs
• Table 3: Lung, breast and colorectal cancers dominate
Estimated number of new cancer cases by site and country income group, 2010
• Table 4: Cancer cases expected to increase sharply by 2030
Estimated number of new cancer cases by site and country income group, 2030
• Table 5: Medical costs account for the largest share of cancer costs
Estimated costs of new cancer cases by cancer site and cost component, 2010
• Table 6: Lung cancer is likely to remain the most costly
Estimated costs of new cancer cases by cancer site and cost component, 2030
• Table 7: Cardiovascular disease costs could rise by 22% by 2030
Global Costs Attributable to CVD, and CVD incidence (in 1000s), selected years, 2010-2030
• Table 8: Richer countries currently shoulder higher costs
Costs Attributable to CVD in 2010 by WHO Sub-Region (billions of US$, except per capita values)
• Table 9: Developing countries will share the growing COPD bill
Global Cost of Illness for COPD in 2010 and 2030. Costs shown in billions of 2010 US$.
• Table 10: High-income countries pay most of diabetes’ costs …
Cost of Diabetes 2010, 2010 US$
• Table 11: … but middle-income countries will take over in 2030
Cost of Diabetes 2030, 2010 US$
• Table 12: Mental illness disrupts lives
Disability-Adjusted Life Years Associated with Mental Health Conditions
• Table 13: Mental health costs expected to more than double by 2030
Global Cost of Mental Health Conditions in 2010 and 2030. Costs shown in billions of 2010 US$
• Table 14: The anticipated economic toll of NCDs is staggering
Economic Burden of NCDs, 2011-2030 (trillions of US$ 2010), based on EPIC model
• Table 15: By all measurements, the cost burden will be sizable
Value of life lost due to NCDs, by estimation method and income group (trillions of 2010 US$)
• Table 16: Mental illness hits output hard
Breakdown of output losses by disease type and income category, 2010 and 2030, trillions (2010 US$),
using the VSL approach
• Table 17: “Best Buy” interventions for NCD prevention and control
List of Tables
43
• Figure 1: NCDs constitute more than 60% of deaths worldwide
• Figure 2: The world population is growing and getting older
• Figure 3a: Mental health and cardiovascular diseases are top drivers of lost output.
Breakdown of NCD cost by disease type, based on EPIC model
• Figure 3b: High-income countries lose the most output
Breakdown of NCD cost by income level, based on EPIC model
• Figure 4: Output losses will speed up over time (Cumulative NCD loss, 2011–2030, based on EPIC model)
• Figure 5: NCD cost burden likely to double by 2030 (CMH1, CMH3 and VSL estimates*)
• Figure 6: Upper middle income countries will take on a bigger share of lost output (Comparison of VSL losses in 2010
and 2030, to 2010 GDP, by income group (trillions of 2010 US$))
List of Figures
44
List of Boxes
• Box 1: A snapshot of the five major NCDs
• Box 2: World Economic Forum’s Executive Opinion Survey 2010
• Box 3: Comorbidity among NCDs
• Box 4: Cancer model
• Box 5: Cardiovascular disease model
• Box 6: COPD model
• Box 7: Diabetes model
• Box 8: Mental illness model
• Box 9: How the EPIC tool works
• Box 10: How the VSL approach works
• Box 11: The NCD cost tally
• Box12:Puttingtrillionsintocontext
45
Acknowledgements
This report was prepared by a team led by:
David E. Bloom, Clarence James Gamble Professor of Economics and Demography, Harvard School of Public Health
Elizabeth T. Cafiero, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health
Eva Jané-Llopis, Head, Chronic Disease and Well-being, World Economic Forum
The team included:
Shafika Abrahams-Gessel, Harvard Global Health Institute
Lakshmi Reddy Bloom, Data for Decisions LLC
Sana Fathima, University of Oxford
Andrea B. Feigl, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health
Tom Gaziano, Center for Health Decision Science, Harvard School of Public Health
Ali Hamandi, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health,
Mona Mowafi, Department of Society, Human Development and Health, HSPH
Danny O’Farrell, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health
Emre Ozaltin, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health
Ankur Pandya, Center for Health Decision Science, Harvard School of Public Health
Klaus Prettner, Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard School of Public Health
Larry Rosenberg, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health
Benjamin Seligman, Stanford University School of Medicine
Adam Z. Stein, Department of Global Health and Population, HSPH
Cara Weinstein, Center for Health Decision Science, Harvard School of Public Health
Jonathan Weiss, Yale School of Public Health
The study team thanks the following individuals and organizations for their contribution to this project:
The Harvard- based Advisory Group for providing expertise:
Hans-Olov Adami, Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health; Professor
Emeritus, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
Thomas Gaziano, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School; Assistant Professor, Department of Health Policy and
Management and Core Faculty, Harvard Center for Health Decision Science, Harvard School of Public Health
Frank Hu, Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public
Health
Arthur Kleinman, Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University; Professor of
Medical Anthropology in Social Medicine and Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Frank Speizer, Professor of Environmental Science, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public
Health; Edward H. Kass Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School Senior Physician Department of Medicine Brigham
and Women’s Hospital
Walter Willett, Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and Chair, Department of Nutrition, Harvard
School of Public Health
The members of the Interdisciplinary Expert Advisory Group convened by the World Economic Forum for their numerous
contributions to the project, including reviewing the manuscript, attending meetings and providing data and references:
Peter Anderson, University of Newcastle and University of Maastricht
Raymond Baxter, Kaiser Permanente
Susan Blumenthal, amFAR
Michele Cecchini, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
Dan Chisholm, World Health Organization
Charlotte Ersboll, Novo Nordisk
David Gallagher, Omnicom/Ketchum Pleon
Chris Gray, Pfizer
Nathan Grey, Union for International Cancer Control
James Hospedales, Pan American Health Organization
Prabhat Jha, University of Toronto
Martin Knapp, The London School of Economics and Political Science
Denise Kruzikas, GE Health
Lisa McCallum, Nike
Caitlin Morris, Nike
46
Rachel Nugent, University of Washington
Srinath Reddy, Public Health Foundation of India
Hana Ross, American Cancer Society
Katia Skarbek, International Diabetes Federation
Krista Thompson, Becton, Dickinson and Company
Derek Yach, PepsiCo
Special thanks are extended to the following individuals and organizations for their contributions and support in various
capacities:
Eli Adashi, Brown University Medical School
Tim Armstrong, World Health Organization
John Beard, World Health Organization
Asaf Bitton, Harvard Medical School
Dan Chisholm, World Health Organization
Pamela Collins, National Institute of Mental Health/National Institutes of Health
Jacques Ferlay, International Agency for Research on Cancer
David Forman, International Agency for Research on Cancer
John Halbert, UCLA
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
Dean Jamison, University of Washington
Ana Maria Baptista Menezes, Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil
Rune Nielsen, Institute of Medicine, University of Bergen, Norway
Vikram Patel, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Olivier Raynaud, World Economic Forum
Michael Reich, Harvard School of Public Health
Joshua Salomon, Harvard School of Public Health
Alafia Samuels, CARICOM
Shekhar Saxena, World Health Organization
Reference staff at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard University
Takemi Fellows 2010-2011, Harvard School of Public Health
For administrative support throughout the project and final production of the report:
Vanessa Candeias, World Economic Forum
Cynthia Gaechner, World Economic Forum
Allison Gallant, Harvard School of Public Health
Marilyn Goodrich, Harvard University
Helena Hallden, World Economic Forum
Janet Hill, World Economic Forum
Kamal Kimaoui, World Economic Forum
Floris Landi, World Economic Forum
David Mattke-Robinson, Harvard School of Public Health
Shahnaz Radjy-Crespo, World Economic Forum
Carol Seyboth, World Economic Forum
Nina Vugman, World Economic Forum
Laura Wallace, Harvard School of Public Health
The World Economic Forum is an independent
international organization committed to improving
the state of the world by engaging business,
political, academic and other leaders of society
to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971,
and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum
is tied to no political, partisan or national interests.
(www.weforum.org)
... Depression is a prevalent and debilitating disease that affects~17% of the US population [27] and represents an important economic burden [9]. Depressed patients often experience attention, concentration, perception, executive function, and processing speed deficits, in addition to depression symptoms, that hamper everyday functions [50,64]. ...
... These studies were conducted using male adult (8)(9)(10)(11)(12) weeks old) C57BL/6 wild-type, GSK3α/β 21A/21A/9A/9A knock-in, and Fmr1 −/− mice. Female mice were used in Suppl Fig 5. ...
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Background: Major depressive disorder is a widespread mood disorder. One of the most debilitating symptoms patients often experience is cognitive impairment. Recent findings suggest that inflammation is associated with depression and impaired cognition. Pro-inflammatory cytokines are elevated in the blood of depressed patients and impair learning and memory processes, suggesting that an anti-inflammatory approach might be beneficial for both depression and cognition. Methods: We subjected mice to the learned helplessness paradigm and evaluated novel object recognition and spatial memory. Mice were treated with IL-10 intranasally or/and microglia cells were depleted using PLX5622. Statistical differences were tested using ANOVA or t tests. Results: We first established a mouse model of depression in which learning and memory are impaired. We found that learned helplessness (LH) impairs novel object recognition (NOR) and spatial working memory. LH mice also exhibit reduced hippocampal dendritic spine density and increased microglial activation compared to non-shocked (NS) mice or mice that were subjected to the learned helpless paradigm but did not exhibit learned helplessness (non-learned helpless or NLH). These effects are mediated by microglia, as treatment with PLX5622, which depletes microglia, restores learning and memory and hippocampal dendritic spine density in LH mice. However, PLX5622 also impairs learning and memory and reduces hippocampal dendritic spine density in NLH mice, suggesting that microglia in NLH mice produce molecules that promote learning and memory. We found that microglial interleukin (IL)-10 levels are reduced in LH mice, and IL-10 administration is sufficient to restore NOR, spatial working memory, and hippocampal dendritic spine density in LH mice, and in NLH mice treated with PLX5622 consistent with a pro-cognitive role for IL-10. Conclusions: Altogether these data demonstrate the critical role of IL-10 in promoting learning and memory after learned helplessness.
... Underweight and overweight threaten both an individual's survival and a health system's resilience [5]. The overwhelming effect of this double-edged sword reduces human productivity and results in an economic catastrophe [12,13]. This is specially important for women of reproductive age group. ...
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Background Global epidemiological transition across various countries have documented the coexistence of undernutrition and overnutrition. South Asian countries are facing this public health hazard in remarkable manner. To enrich the evidence and relation with women’s health in the Maldives, this study was undertaken to examine the prevalence and associated factors of underweight, overweight and obesity among reproductive age women. Methods This study was conducted utilizing data from the Maldives Demographic and Health Survey 2016–17. After presenting descriptive analyses, multivariable logistic regression analysis method was used to examine the prevalence and associations between different nutritional status categories. These were grouped based on the WHO recommended cut-off value and relevant socio-demographic determinants among reproductive age women. Results A total weighted sample of 6,634 reproductive age Maldivian women (15–49 years) were included in the analysis. The overall prevalence of overweight and obesity was 63%, while the underweight prevalence was 10%. The younger age group (15–24 years) had a higher prevalence of underweight (26%). On the other hand, an overweight and obesity prevalence of 82.6% was observed among the older age group (35–49 years). Regression analysis showed that residents of the North and Central Provinces, those in the higher quintiles of wealth index, married women and those with parity of more than two children, were all significantly negatively correlated to being underweight. Increased age, being married or separated/divorced/widowed and having more than three children was found to have a significant positive association with overweight and obesity. Conclusions Maldives is facing nutritional transition and a major public health hazard demonstrated by the high burden of overweight and obesity and persistence of chronic problem of undernutrition. Surveillance of vulnerable individuals with identified socio-demographic factors and cost-effective interventions are highly recommended to address the persistent underweight status and the emerging problem of overweight/obesity.
... At the household level, this DBM most commonly occurs through the presence of overweight or obese mothers (OBM) and undernourished children in the same home, referred to as mother overweight/child underweight (MOCU) [2,3]. The occurrence of DBM at these levels is concerning, as it is well known that both underweight and overweight have multifaceted consequences for survival, incidence of chronic diseases, healthy development, and the economic productivity of individuals, societies, and health care systems [4,5], leading to the inclusion of a target to eradicate all forms of malnutrition worldwide within the Sustainable Development Goals [6]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: Many developing countries currently face a double burden of malnutrition (DBM) at the household level, defined by the World Health Organization, as when a mother may be overweight or anemic, and a child or grandparent is underweight, in the same household. For the present study, we defined it as the coexistence of overweight or obesity in the mother, and at least one child under the age of 5 undernourished, within the same household. Although underweight has long been considered a major issue in South and Southeast Asia, overweight and obesity have also been identified as a growing problem. The main aim of this study was to assess the DBM at the household level and its major determinants in South and Southeast Asia. Methods: We used population-representative cross-sectional data from the Demographic and Health Survey, conducted between 2007 and 2017, for eight South and Southeast Asian countries: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Myanmar, Timor, Maldives, and Cambodia. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to identify the sociodemographic factors associated with DBM. Results: A total of 798,961 households were included in this study. The pooled prevalence of overweight or obesity for the mother and stunted child was 10.0% (95% CI: 8.0.0-12.0), for OBM and wasted child, it was 7.0% (95% confidence interval (CI): 6.0-8.0), and for overweight or obese mother (OBM) and underweight child, it was 7.0% (95% CI: 6.0-8.0). The prevalence of any of these DBM coexistences was 12.0% (95% CI: 10.0-13.0) in all households. Statistically significant positive associations (p < 0.05) were found for each of these coexistences, and a higher age of the mother, mothers with a lower education, the richest household quintile, and households with more than four members. Conclusion: It is imperative that "double duty" action policies are developed that tackle the DBM, rather than targeting undernutrition or overnutrition separately. The findings from this study suggest that the promotion of education for women may aid in tackling the double burden on a household level.
... At the household level, this DBM most commonly occurs through the presence of overweight or obese mothers (OBM) and undernourished children in the same home, referred to as mother overweight/child underweight (MOCU) [2,3]. The occurrence of DBM at these levels is concerning, as it is well known that both underweight and overweight have multifaceted consequences for survival, incidence of chronic diseases, healthy development, and the economic productivity of individuals, societies, and health care systems [4,5], leading to the inclusion of a target to eradicate all forms of malnutrition worldwide within the Sustainable Development Goals [6]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives Many developing countries currently face a double burden of malnutrition (DBM) at the household level, defined by the World Health Organization, as when a mother may be overweight or anemic, and a child or grandparent is underweight, in the same household. For the present study, we defined it as the coexistence of overweight or obesity in the mother, and at least one child under the age of 5 undernourished, within the same household. Although underweight has long been considered a major issue in South and Southeast Asia, overweight and obesity have also been identified as a growing problem. The main aim of this study was to assess the DBM at the household level and its major determinants in South and Southeast Asia. Methods We used population-representative cross-sectional data from the Demographic and Health Survey, conducted between 2007 and 2017, for eight South and Southeast Asian countries: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Myanmar, Timor, Maldives, and Cambodia. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to identify the sociodemographic factors associated with DBM. Results A total of 798,961 households were included in this study. The pooled prevalence of overweight or obesity for the mother and stunted child was 10.0% (95% CI: 8.0.0-12.0), for OBM and wasted child, it was 7.0% (95% confidence interval (CI): 6.0-8.0), and for overweight or obese mother (OBM) and underweight child, it was 7.0% (95% CI: 6.0-8.0). The prevalence of any of these DBM coexistences was 12.0% (95% CI: 10.0-13.0) in all households. Statistically significant positive associations (p < 0.05) were found for each of these coexistences, and a higher age of the mother, mothers with a lower education, the richest household quintile, and households with more than four members. Conclusion It is imperative that "double duty" action policies are developed that tackle the DBM, rather than targeting undernutrition or overnutrition separately. The findings from this study suggest that the promotion of education for women may aid in tackling the double burden on a household level.
... A recent systematic review and meta-analysis covering the region reported that the current prevalence of overweight actually exceeds that of underweight. This is concerning, as it is well known that both underweight and overweight have multifaceted consequences for survival, incidence of chronic diseases, healthy development, and the economic productivity of individuals, societies, and health care systems (5,6). For example, undernutrition in women is associated with adverse pregnency outcomes, including maternal mortality, delivery complications, preterm birth, and intrauterine growth retardation (7). ...
... (p. 93) The global cost of mental health conditions are estimated to grow to US$ 6.0 trillion by 2030 (Bloom et al., 2011). We urgently need new ways of delivering treatment to bridge the gap between the high prevalence of mental disorders and the relatively low capacity of current mental health services. ...
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Full-text available
Introduction: One route to advancing psychological treatments is to harness mental health science, a multidisciplinary approach including individuals with lived experience and end users (e.g., Holmes, E. A., Craske, M. G., & Graybiel, A. M. (2014). Psychological treatments: A call for mental-health science. Nature, 511(7509), 287–289. doi:10.1038/511287a). While early days, we here illustrate a line of research explored by our group—intrusive imagery-based memories after trauma. Method/Results: We illustrate three possible approaches through which mental health science may stimulate thinking around psychological treatment innovation. First, focusing on single/specific target symptoms rather than full, multifaceted psychiatric diagnoses (e.g., intrusive trauma memories rather than all of posttraumatic stress disorder). Second, investigating mechanisms that can be modified in treatment (treatment mechanisms), rather than those which cannot (e.g., processes only linked to aetiology). Finally, exploring novel ways of delivering psychological treatment (peer-/self-administration), given the prevalence of mental health problems globally, and the corresponding need for effective interventions that can be delivered at scale and remotely for example at times of crisis (e.g., current COVID-19 pandemic). Conclusions: These three approaches suggest options for potential innovative avenues through which mental health science may be harnessed to recouple basic and applied research and transform treatment development.
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Obesity puts individuals at risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Traditionally obesity was primarily perceived as a personal disorder requiring treatment at the individual level. Strategies to prevent obesity have shifted to an ecological approach. Organizations such as the World Health Organization recommend population based community approaches that connect people, families, schools, and municipalities. Community programs to facilitate weight loss are an effective strategy to reach large populations. The overall goal of this study is to assess community programs, factors associated with retention, and motivation for completing a community weight-loss initiative. A systematic review was conducted to characterize and evaluate community-based weight loss programs for adults. Electronic academic databases were searched for studies published between January 2004 and December 2018. The systematic literature search retrieved 1,180 records, with a final synthesis of 11 publications describing eight unique programs. A variety of community strategies were implemented in the selected studies, including changes to the built environment to facilitate active living and healthy eating, and family components All the identified programs described resulted in some percentage of participants losing 5% of their body weight, a decreased BMI, or at least a 1.7 kg average weight loss; this suggests that the diversity in programs and their components is a necessary strategy to meet diverse individual needs across US communities. Understanding what factors help individuals complete weight-loss programs may improve participant retention, thus improving health outcomes. Factors associated with the completion of a community weight-loss challenge were examined. Sample participants included overweight and obese adults (n=6,225) participating in The Challenge. Multivariable regressions showed that the following increased the odds of program completion: increased age, being female, non-Hispanic, receiving text message support, a lower baseline BMI and participating in a group. It is essential to continue to work on increasing completion rates to enhance the effectiveness of community weight loss programs. Research on the effect of motivation as a factor in behavioral interventions to reduce overweight or obesity is lacking. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 participants who completed a community weight-loss intervention to assess motivation for participating and the role of social support and self-efficacy. Participants mentioned external sources of motivation, such as preventing adverse health outcomes, wanting to improve their physical appearance, and being motivated by financial incentives. Fewer participants mentioned intrinsic motivators, which are more likely to create lasting change and improved health behaviors. Understanding the motivation for behavior change and completion of weight loss programs is essential to help participants reach their goals effectively. A greater emphasis on the motives for individuals to lose weight may help improve outcomes in weight-loss interventions.
Conference Paper
Non-invasive health monitoring has the potential to improve the delivery and efficiency of medical treatment. Objective: This study was aimed at developing a neural network to classify the lung volume state of a subject (i.e. high lung volume (HLV) or low lung volume (LLV), where the subject had fully inhaled or exhaled, respectively) by analyzing cardiac cycles extracted from vibrational cardiography (VCG) signals. Methods: A total of 15619 cardiac cycles were recorded from 50 subjects, of which 9989 cycles were recorded in the HLV state and the remaining 5630 cycles were recorded in the LLV state. A 1D convolutional neural network (CNN) was employed to classify the lung volume state of these cardiac cycles. Results: The CNN model was evaluated using a train/test split of 80/20 on the data. The developed model was able to correctly classify the lung volume state of 99.4% of the testing data. Conclusion: VCG cardiac cycles can be classified based on lung volume state using a CNN. Significance: These results provide evidence of a correlation between VCG and respiration volume, which could inform further analysis into VCG-based cardio-respiratory monitoring.
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The Pacific region faces a significant and growing burden of noncommunicable diseases and mental disorders. An emerging issue is the increasing overlap between physical and mental health conditions, which are often the result of interactive effects and lead to more severe consequences. In addition, climate change is amplifying health risks, as it poses both physical and existential threats to Pacific Island communities. The sustainable development agenda provides a holistic opportunity to address these issues; key elements include improving health surveillance and strengthening health systems, within a multisectoral approach, in order to work towards achieving Healthy Islands.
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Book
Cardiovascular disease (CVD), once thought to be confined primarily to industrialized nations, has emerged as a major health threat in developing countries. Cardiovascular disease now accounts for nearly 30 percent of deaths in low and middle income countries each year, and is accompanied by significant economic repercussions. Yet most governments, global health institutions, and development agencies have largely overlooked CVD as they have invested in health in developing countries. Recognizing the gap between the compelling evidence of the global CVD burden and the investment needed to prevent and control CVD, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) turned to the IOM for advice on how to catalyze change. In this report, the IOM recommends that the NHLBI, development agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and governments work toward two essential goals: creating environments that promote heart healthy lifestyle choices and help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and building public health infrastructure and health systems with the capacity to implement programs that will effectively detect and reduce risk and manage CVD. To meet these goals, the IOM recommends several steps, including improving cooperation and collaboration; implementing effective and feasible strategies; and informing efforts through research and health surveillance. Without better efforts to promote cardiovascular health, global health as a whole will be undermined. © 2010 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
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This chapter deals with the socioeconomic disparities in overweight and obesity. It first provides an overview of the association(s) between socioeconomic status (SES) and obesity as informed by the significant number of cross-sectional and longitudinal studies available, followed by a discussion of mediators or mechanisms that may underlie the observed associations. The most consistent association observed, based on reviews to date, is that of an inverse relationship between SES and obesity among women in the developed world. Consistent socioeconomic patterning of obesity exists, and does not just reflect economic or material factors. Given that socioeconomic patterning of weight persists and is perhaps widening, it is important that prevention initiatives incorporate evaluation not just of overall impact, but of differential impact by SES and other axes of social stratification.
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This paper uses a health literacy “lens” to look at key global health challenges, including the achievement of health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the reduction of disease burden due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Available global evidence is summarized related to: assessment of the impact of health literacy on health and development; identification of measures for reporting progress; exploring ways to strengthen multisectoral collaboration at the national, regional, and international levels to undertake joint actions for increasing health literacy; finding ways to promote better access and use of information through information and communication technology and empowerment; and building capacity for sustained action to increase health literacy. Key action messages are identified. Findings presented informed the 2009 ECOSOC Ministerial Declaration on Health Literacy.