Over the next 20 years the top 5 leading chronic diseases could end up costing $47 trillion worldwide. Cancer, diabetes, mental illness, heart disease, and respiratory disease make up the world’s most expensive chronic illnesses, which are commonly treated by conventional medical methods such as chemotherapy that are both costly and considerably ineffective at eliminating disease. Preventative methods, such as a diet free of processed foods and generating enough vitamin D3, could essential save trillions each year while virtually costing nothing in comparison.
The estimated cumulative output loss caused by the illnesses, which together already kill more than 36 million people a year and are predicted to kill tens of millions more in future, represents around 4 percent of annual global GDP over the coming two decades, the study said.
“This is not a health issue, this is an economic issue — it touches on all sectors of society,” Eva Jane-Llopis, WEF’s head of chronic disease and wellness, said in a telephone interview.
The research was published on Sunday, the eve of a two-day United Nations meeting on chronic, or non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which aims to draw up global action plans to tackle growing levels of death and illness from these costly diseases often linked to diet, tobacco, alcohol and exercise.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the worldwide NCD epidemic is expected to accelerate so that by 2030 the number of deaths from NCDs could reach 52 million a year.