Cancer kills twice as much as cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and is now the leading cause of death in high-income countries, according to a report from the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiologic (PURE) study. CVD remain, however, the leading cause of mortality among middle-aged adults worldwide. (See Infographic Below)
For over ten years, the international team followed 162,534 adults aged between 35 and 70 years old. The cohort study involved twenty-one (four high-income, 12 middle-income, and 5 low-income) countries. Researchers recognize the number is too low to make assumptions to all countries. On the other hand, the study includes data from nearly 900 urban and rural communities from multiple countries, providing a vast array of diverse risk factors.
CVD related-deaths are 2.5 times more common in low-income countries than in the rest of the world, a fact that authors attribute to a lower quality of healthcare. But the rates of CVD continue to fall, due to successful long-term prevention strategies, and it is possible that cancer, now the second most common cause of death globally, overthrows CVD as the leading cause of death worldwide.
Countries analyzed in the PURE Study include Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, India, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Tanzania, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Zimbabwe.
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