Applying Modeling to Improve Health and Economic Policy Decisions in the Americas: The Case of Noncommunicable Diseases


In the Region of the Americas, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are a clear threat not only to human health, but also to a country's economic development and growth. The evidence on both of these counts is compelling. In 2012, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancers, chronic respiratory conditions including asthma, and other NCDs were the cause of 4.5 million deaths in the Americas. Of that total number, 1.5 million of them were premature, occurring among people aged 30-69 years. The financial impact of NCDs in the Americas is just as dismaying, with chronic diseases posing a growing threat to many nations' economic stability. According to a 2007 Lancet article, without intensified NCD prevention efforts, countries around the world could expect their gross domestic product (GDP) to decline by billions of dollars.