Health | Obesity, pollution, inequalities, Covid-19: the cocktail for a “storm”

Poor diet, pollution and other sources of chronic disease on the rise for 30 years, to which is added a new virus: the conditions for a “storm” were met to result in the million deaths from Covid-19, deplores a report published on Friday by The Lancet magazine.

“The interaction of Covid-19 with the global increase in chronic diseases and their risk factors continues over the past 30 years, including obesity, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels, editor’s note) and air pollution , created the conditions for a storm, fueling the death toll from Covid-19 “, judges the prestigious British medical journal in a press release.

“Noncommunicable diseases have played a critical role in the million deaths caused by Covid-19 so far, and will continue to determine the general state of health in each country even when the pandemic has subsided,” comments his editor-in-chief, Richard Horton.

The Lancet regularly alerts on the scourge of non-communicable diseases linked to living conditions (obesity, diabetes, tobacco, alcohol, etc.). In this new report, the review makes the link with Covid-19.

For her, the world is facing not only a pandemic, but a “syndemic”, that is to say the conjunction of several health emergencies.

“Many risk factors and noncommunicable diseases studied in this report are associated with an increased risk of severe forms of Covid-19, or even death,” Judge The Lancet.

“Urgent action is needed to address the syndemic of chronic diseases, social inequalities and Covid-19, that is to say the interaction of several epidemics that exacerbate the health burden of populations already affected, and make them even more more vulnerable “, warns the magazine.

In Europe, according to The Lancet, life expectancy in good health has increased steadily for the past 30 years, but less than life expectancy at birth, which means people are living longer in poor health.

On the Old Continent, non-communicable diseases are responsible for “more than 80%” of premature deaths and worsening health status (measured in number of years lost), according to the report.

In 2019, the main risk factors in Europe were hypertension (linked to an estimated 787,000 deaths), tobacco (697,000), unhealthy diet (546,000), high blood sugar (540,000) and obesity (406,000) .

The Lancet calls for “major efforts” to reduce these risks through proactive public health policies, taking the example of those carried out against tobacco.

“Exposure to tobacco has fallen by nearly 10% worldwide since 2010, even if it remains the main cause of death in many rich countries,” said the review.

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