We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Special Communication |

The Global Burden of Chronic Diseases Overcoming Impediments to Prevention and Control

Derek Yach, MBChB, MPH; Corinna Hawkes, PhD; C. Linn Gould, MS, MPH; Karen J. Hofman, MD
JAMA. 2004;291(21):2616-2622. doi:10.1001/jama.291.21.2616.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Chronic diseases are the largest cause of death in the world. In 2002, the leading chronic diseases—cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes—caused 29 million deaths worldwide. Despite growing evidence of epidemiological and economic impact, the global response to the problem remains inadequate. Stakeholders include governments, the World Health Organization and other United Nations bodies, academic and research groups, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector. Lack of financial support retards capacity development for prevention, treatment, and research in most developing countries. Reasons for this include that up-to-date evidence related to the nature of the burden of chronic diseases is not in the hands of decision makers and strong beliefs persist that chronic diseases afflict only the affluent and the elderly, that they arise solely from freely acquired risks, and that their control is ineffective and too expensive and should wait until infectious diseases are addressed. The influence of global economic factors on chronic disease risks impedes progress, as does the orientation of health systems toward acute care. We identify 3 policy levers to address these impediments elevating chronic diseases on the health agenda of key policymakers, providing them with better evidence about risk factor control, and persuading them of the need for health systems change. A more concerted, strategic, and multisectoral policy approach, underpinned by solid research, is essential to help reverse the negative trends in the global incidence of chronic disease.

Figures in this Article

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?


Figure 1. Global Mortality From Chronic Diseases
Graphic Jump Location
Source derived from data in the World Health Report 20031 and Murray and Lopez.3
*The 2020 projections were estimated by Murray and Lopez.3
Figure 2. Deaths Attributable to 16 Leading Causes in Developing Countries, 2001
Graphic Jump Location



Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

527 Citations

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles

Users' Guides to the Medical Literature: A Manual for Evidence-Based Clinical Practice, 3rd ed
Qualitative Research

Users' Guides to the Medical Literature: A Manual for Evidence-Based Clinical Practice, 3rd ed
Are the results credible?