Study: Stroke, heart disease, and cancer among the major drivers of poverty in low- and middle-income countries

Researchers are reporting in a new study that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, and cancer are now major drivers of poverty worldwide and that reducing the household economic burden of NCDs is an important step to alleviating global poverty. The study is one of five papers published in The Lancet as part of the journal’s Taskforce on NCDs and Economics special series.

In the article, study co-author Michael Engelgau, M.D., Deputy Director of the Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science at NHLBI, explained that researchers identified 66 studies in which the effects of NCDs on household economics had been evaluated in low-income and middle-income countries. The studies included 22 countries and the researchers investigated a wide range of NCDs.

“Our study provides strong evidence that non-communicable diseases, including heart disease, stroke, lung disease, and diabetes, and their risk factors are major drivers of poverty in low- and middle- income countries,” Dr. Engelgau said. “It underscores the need to find better ways to reduce the burden of these diseases.”