Cardiovascular disease, diabetes may cost India $6.2 trillion

 Non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular, diabetes and cancer can cost the Indian economy a whopping $6.2 trillion during the 2012-2030 period, a UN report has said, warning about the spread of such diseases in rapidly urbanising countries like India and China. 

"Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) present not only a threat to human health in cities, but also have significant economic implications," said the 'Global Report on Urban Health: Equitable, healthier cities for sustainable development', jointly released by the WHO and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). 
It said increasing urbanisation pose a unique set of health challenges and the lifestyle and working patterns of urban residents have the potential to fuel an increase in NCDs in cities. 
The report added that it is no surprise that the cost of NCDs is substantial in urbanising economies, particularly China and India. 
Between 2014 and 2050, China is expected to add an additional 292 million people to its cities, while in India that figure is estimated at 404 million. 
The report warned that inadequate planning for the "inevitable increase in urbanisation" in India is creating a socially and environmentally "unsustainable" situation. 
"The cost of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and mental health conditions has been estimated at $27.8 trillion for China and $6.2 trillion for India during 2012-2030," it said. 
In China and India, cardiovascular disease and mental health conditions present the greatest economic threats, followed by respiratory diseases and cancer. 
For India, the economic implications of cardiovascular diseases during the period is pegged at $2.25 trillion, the same as that of diabetes. The cost of mental health is estimated at $2.28 trillion. 
Cities are also becoming more motorised and the annual number of new cars sold has increased from 39 million in the 1990's to 63 million in 2012. 
By 2050, this number will exceed 2.1 billion and most of the increase will be in Asian countries, especially China and India. 
WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation Marie-Paule Kieny and UN-Habitat Executive Director Joan Clos said in the report that in cities, progress in health depends not only on the strength of health systems but also on shaping urban environments.
With nearly four billion people living in cities and the urban population growing, there is an urgent need to address health disparities and identify creative ways to ensure universal health coverage, it said. 

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