Lancet: Premature death can be reduced by 40% in 20 years

Avoiding 40% of the premature deaths in each country, 2010-30: review of national mortality trends to help quantify the UN Sustainable Development Goal for Health

CGHR research published 19 September 2014 in The Lancet suggests that, with sustained international efforts, the number of premature deaths could be reduced by 40% over the next two decades (2010-2030), halving under–50 mortality and preventing a third of the deaths at ages 50–69 years.

The findings reveal that, between 2000 and 2010, child deaths fell by one-third worldwide, helped by the fourth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to reduce child deaths by two-thirds; and premature deaths among adults fell by one-sixth, helped by MDG 5 to reduce maternal mortality and MDG 6 to fight AIDS, malaria and other diseases. With expanded international efforts against a wider range of causes, these rates of decrease could accelerate, say the authors.

According to co-author Sir Richard Peto in interview:
“Death in old age is inevitable, but death before old age is not”*, said co-author Richard Peto, Professor of medical statistics at the University of Oxford, UK. “In all major countries, except where the effects of HIV or political disturbances predominated, the risk of premature death has been decreasing in recent decades, and it will fall even faster over the next few decades if the new UN Sustainable Development Goals get the big causes of death taken even more seriously.”


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