As a nation, 75% of our health care dollars goes to treatment of chronic diseases (Heart Disease, Stroke, Diabetes, Cancer, Obesity, Tobacco Use, & other population health indicators.) These persistent conditions—the nation’s leading causes of death and disability—leave in their wake deaths that could have been prevented, lifelong disability, compromised quality of life, and burgeoning health care costs.
The Institute, approximately the fifth largest at the National Institutes of Health, , conducts, supports, and coordinates research on many of the most serious diseases affecting public health such as diabetes, digestive diseases and nutrition, endocrine and metabolic diseases, kidney diseases, liver diseases, & obesity.
Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, are by far the leading cause of mortality in the world, representing 60% of all deaths. Out of the 35 million people who died from chronic disease in 2005, half were under 70 and half were women.
NCDs already disproportionately affect low- and middle-income countries where nearly 80% of NCD deaths – 29 million – occur. They are the leading causes of death in all regions except Africa, but current projections indicate that by 2020 the largest increases in NCD deaths will occur in Africa. In African nations deaths from, NCDs are projected to exceed the combined deaths of communicable and nutritional diseases and maternal and perinatal deaths as the most common causes of death by 2030.