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Confronting the Next Global Health Challenge

While mortality rates from infectious diseases are falling, developed countries’ sedentary lifestyles, tobacco use, and poor diets are catching on in the developing world, and chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are increasing at an alarming rate. This is the world's next global health challenge.

ZURICH – Thanks to unprecedented international cooperation, the world is making impressive progress in the fight against malaria. According to the World Health Organization’s just-released 2016 World Malaria Report, malaria mortality rates among children under age five have fallen by 69% since 2000.

And this progress is not limited to malaria. Many countries have reduced new HIV infections by 50% or more over a similar period, and the infection rates for other debilitating tropical diseases, such as leprosy and Guinea worm, have fallen significantly in recent years.

But while mortality rates from infectious diseases are declining, developed countries’ sedentary lifestyles, tobacco use, and poor diets are catching on in the developing world, and noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer are increasing at an alarming rate.

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