Report: Health Disabilities Rapidly Increasing

Thursday, 13 Dec 2012 02:15 PM

By Todd Beamon

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More people in the world are being affected by medical disabilities than in the past, a five-year study examining health conditions in 187 nations has found.

“We are in transition to a world where disability is the dominant concern as opposed to premature death,” Christopher J. L. Murray of the University of Washington, who headed the “Global Burden of Disease Study,” told the Washington Post. “The pace of change is such that we are ill prepared to deal with what the burden of disease is now in most places.”

Published on Thursday, the study was completed by 486 researchers at 302 institutions in 50 countries. The report is the most thorough look at health on the population level — entailing 7 billion people in 187 individual countries, the Post reports.

High-blood pressure is the leading “risk factor” for disease around the world, the study found, and alcohol use ranks No. 3. Low-back pain now causes more disability than childbirth complications or anemia, the Post reports.

More than 235 causes of death were researched — from AIDS and alcoholism to bladder cancer and animal bites — as were the impact of 67 “risk factors” that could lead to illness.

Besides high-blood pressure, those factors also included childhood sexual abuse and not having enough fruit in the diet, the Post reports.

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