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Diabetes Now Mexico's
Leading Cause of Death


Diabetes has overtaken poverty-related infections to become the leading cause of death in Mexico, according to a new report that adds weight to a World Health Organization warning that a devastating global diabetes epidemic is looming.

Mexico's Health Ministry said on the report, just published, found deaths from diabetes are increasing by 3 percent each year, making diabetes the cause of 12 percent of deaths in the country.

"Diabetes is the best example of the epidemic transition the country is going through, characterized by a growing predominance of noncontagious illnesses," the report stated, noting associated factors like obesity were also on the rise.

The global death toll from diabetes exceeds the three million killed by AIDS. World health bodies predict the number of diabetes sufferers worldwide could more than double to 366 million by 2030 from around 177 million now.

Normally considered a rich countries' disease, diabetes is growing fastest in poor countries, often in tandem with obesity - a rising problem in developing countries and especially in junk food-obsessed Mexico.

Mexico is also seeing a swing toward cancer, which is now the underlying cause of more than 10 percent of deaths.

In total, the percentage of deaths from noninfectious illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and hypertension has risen to 73 percent from 44 percent in 1950. Fewer than 15 percent of deaths in Mexico are now from common infections.

"These figures show the principal causes of death are no longer linked, as in the past, to infections but to the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and addictive substances, inactivity and obesity. We must promote more healthy habits," President Vicente Fox said.

Mexico's swing toward the illnesses that blight richer nations has come amid a slide in child mortality rates.

Between 2000 and 2003 the infant mortality rate dropped 15 percent, while deaths from respiratory infections and diarrhea fell by 16 percent among children under five, thanks to improved sanitary conditions and vaccination programs, the report said.


Reference Source 89
Aug 25, 2004


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