Improving Six Risk Factors Could Delay 37 Million Deaths

The following article was written by Kelly Young and originally published on

Achieving global targets for six modifiable risk factors could delay or prevent roughly 37 million deaths over 15 years, according to a Lancet study.

Researchers used country data on mortality to estimate the effects of achieving the following targets:

— reducing prevalence of tobacco use by 30%

— reducing per-person alcohol consumption by 10%

— reducing mean population consumption of salt by 30%

— reducing prevalence of hypertension by 25%

— stopping the increase in diabetes prevalence

— stopping the increase in obesity prevalence

If all six targets are achieved by 2025, it could lead to a roughly 20% reduction in the probability of premature death (ages 30 to 70) from four noncommunicable diseases. The largest benefits, the authors write, would come from reducing tobacco use and lowering blood pressure.

A commentator writes: “These are remarkable potential health gains in view of the highly cost-effective interventions available, which could be readily scaled up in all countries.”



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