The world is sick (apparently), with about 95% of people have at least one health complaint, with a third of us having more than five; so writes the New Scientist based on a report by Theo Vos and colleagues.
Becoming better at avoiding early death means we spend longer being susceptible to ill health that results from our bodies wearing out. “The focus of health has been on tackling causes of death, rather than disability,” says Theo Vos of the University of Washington in Seattle, one of the authors of a study evaluating how patterns of disease and ill health have changed in 188 countries between 1990 and 2013.
The number of years of healthy life lost globally rose from 537.6 million in 1990 to 764.8 million in 2013, a rise of 43 per cent. The authors attribute this to population growth and ageing.
The leading causes were lower-back pain and depression, which were among the top 10 causes of lost years of health in all 188 countries. Other common woes include tooth cavities, tension-type headaches, iron-deficiency anaemia, hearing loss, genital herpes and migraine.