This is the VOA Special English Development Report.
The life expectancy of peoplearound the world could increase by five to ten years if actionagainst common health risks is taken. This is one of the findings inthis year's World Health Report released recently by the WorldHealth Organization. The report is called "Reducing Risks, PromotingLife."
Researchers found that ten major threats to good health arecommon around the world. The chief of the World Health Organization,Gro Harlem Brundtland, called them the ten leading killers. Theyinclude unsafe sex, poor nutrition, high blood pressure, use oftobacco and alcohol, unsafe water and unclean living conditions.Also included are high levels of dangerous fat in the blood, indoorsmoke from solid fuels, a lack of iron in the body and too much bodyweight, or obesity. Together, these ten health risks make up fortypercent of the fifty-six-million deaths worldwide each year.
Doctor Brundtland called for reducing the ten main health risksby twenty-five percent within ten years. If this were done, lifeexpectancy in industrial countries could increase by ten years. Indeveloping countries, it could increase by five years.
Currently, the number of life years lost because of these healthrisks differs around the world. Doctor Brundtland says thedifferences these health risks create between rich and poor nationsare shocking. For example, about one-hundred-seventy-millionchildren in poor countries are underweight. They do not weigh enoughbecause they do not get enough food. However, more thanone-thousand-million adults around the world are too fat. Thesepeople are mostly in rich, industrial countries.
Doctor Brundtland warns that the cost of inaction is serious. Forexample, she says nine-million deaths a year linked to smoking willbe reported by two-thousand-twenty if steps are not taken soon.Currently, about five-million people die each year from diseasesrelated to smoking.
Doctor Brundtland says that AIDS and the H-I-V virus are having ahuge effect on the length of life in Africa. Currently, lifeexpectancy at birth in southern Africa is forty-seven years. TheW-H-O estimates that ninety-five percent of H-I-V infections inAfrica were caused by unsafe sex. She says there is an urgent needfor sex education and the use of condom devices to prevent thespread of H-I-V.
This VOA Special English Development Report was written by JillMoss [adapted from a VOA report by Michael Drudge].