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Issue 223 Item 8

Diabetes Now Mexico’s Leading Cause of Death
Issue 223 Item 8

Aug 31, 2004

Diabetes has overtaken poverty-related infections to become the leading cause of death in Mexico, and WHO is warning that a devastating global diabetes epidemic is looming. Mexico’s Health Ministry said on Tuesday the report, just published, found deaths from diabetes are increasing by 3% each year, making diabetes the cause of 12% 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% of deaths.

In total, the percentage of deaths from noninfectious illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and hypertension has risen to 73% from 44% in 1950. Fewer than 15% 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 in a speech last Tuesday.


Obesity Raises Risk For 9 Cancer Types: Expanding waistlines increase the risk for at least nine types of cancer and may account for 14 percent to 20 percent of all cancer deaths — 90,000 a year. And with the obesity epidemic showing no signs of waning, specialists say they need to better understand how fat cells fuels cancer growth so they might fight back.
American Society of Clinical Oncology