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What’s making us sick ... and what’s not

Oliver Erdmann

In 2012, it’s more likely to be obesity than infectious disease, even in many so-called "poor" countries.

People around the world are living longer – but they're also more likely to get sick from diseases that are common in America. These trends are highlighted in an ambitious Seattle-based project to track health and sickness in countries around the world.

In the past 20 years, there’s been huge progress in global health – especially in Latin America and Asia. That's not quite as true in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the “Global Burden of Disease” study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. 

And progress has come at a price. For example, childhood malnutrition has fallen while obesity and diabetes are on the rise.

"The new Global Burden of Disease may displace infectious disease from its position as the categorical center of the global health universe," writes KPLU's Tom Paulson, in an explanatory piece on the Humanosphere blog.
The study is "almost guaranteed to provoke and disrupt the international community’s approach to improving global health," writes Paulson

See the two most revealing charts and read the full analysis on Humanosphere -->

Keith Seinfeld is a former KNKX/KPLU reporter who covered health, science and the environment over his 17 years with the station. He also served as assistant news director. Prior to KLPU, he was a staff reporter at The Seattle Times and The News Tribune in Tacoma and a freelance writer-producer. His work has been honored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.