Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The top 10 preventable health risk factors globally

The top 10 preventable health risk factors globally

A report from the World Health Organization (WHO), Comparative Quantification of Health Risks, which estimates deaths and disability from preventable causes of major diseases , compares the impact of 26 major risk factors, and lists the top 10 globally as:

* Childhood and maternal underweight.
* Unsafe sex.
* High blood pressure.
* Tobacco use.
* Alcohol.
* Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene.
* High cholesterol.
* Indoor smoke from solid fuels.
* Iron deficiency.
* Overweight/obesity.

It's a sobering thought, but most efforts which would help to improve health globally have little to do with what the doctor can do in the clinic ! Doctors take a lot of the credit for the health of their patients, but we need to realise that we can have a much greater impact if we take a more holistic approach. Doctors are supposed to be the "health specialists", but a good engineer who can provide clean drinking water to a village ; or a clever marketing expert who can making smoking "uncool" for teens; or an entrepreneur who can provide white LEDs to illuminate rural homes instead of unsafe paraffin lamps can do far more good to improve the health of the community !

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