Chronic Diseases Are Devastating Poor Countries, Report Says

1 minute read

Chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease have become the leading cause of death in the developing world and are becoming deadlier every year, according to a new report from the Council on Foreign Relations.

The trend marks a sharp contrast from the developed world, where preventive measures and treatment have contributed to a decline in the number of deaths from these diseases before the age of the sixty.

While declining rates of infectious diseases in the developing world could explain part of the rise—as people live longer, they have a higher chance of contracting chronic diseases—the report says that other factors are at play, including rapidly rising pollution and tobacco use and poorer nutrition. In fact, chronic diseases are disproportionately affecting younger populations in the developing world.

The disparities in health care are also evident in the report: All of the governments in sub-Saharan Africa spend roughly as much on health as the government of Poland.

See the report here.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Write to Noah Rayman at