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The Global Health Crisis Will Crush the Global Economy

The scale of the global epidemic of obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes are truly staggering.

Though evidence of a looming global healthcare crisis is plainly visible, few seem to realize the consequences will be catastrophic to individuals, households and national economies.

Here is a list—by no means exhaustive—of major health issues threatening hundreds of millions of people globally.

Air & Water Pollution

Photos such as these provide graphic evidence that air and water pollution are serious health hazards in many developing nations around the world:

Source: Kyodo News

Source: Independent.co.uk

The statistics are equally horrendous: roughly 40% of all deaths in Pakistan result from polluted drinking water, 500 million people in China lack clean drinking water, and in India, 90% of human waste flows untreated into rivers.

Though the winter smog in Chinese cities is infamous, many other Asian nations suffer from equally poor or even worse air quality:

The health consequences of severe air pollution are many, and a rising number of deaths are attributable to air pollution:

(Sources)

Air and water pollution do not stop at borders, and so severe pollution in developing economies has become a health issue in neighboring developed economies as well.

Ageing Populations

As populations age, health costs rise while the working-age population that must support higher healthcare expenses declines, burdening the middle-aged workers who must support the elderly and the young. Caring for a rapidly expanding population of elderly retirees burdens governments and economies as well as households: as income is taxed to pay for care, there is less money available for other programs and investing in future productivity.

We all know why healthcare costs rise as the population of elderly retirees grows: chronic non-communicable diseases go hand in hand with age. The costs of treating these lifestyle/ageing diseases (metabolic syndrome, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc.) soar as the population and incidence of these diseases both rise.

A recent Standard & Poor’s study, Global Aging 2010: An Irreversible Truth, warns that “no other force is likely to shape the future of national economic health, public finances, and policymaking as the irreversible rate at which the world’s population is aging… The cost of caring for [the elderly] will profoundly affect growth prospects and dominate public finance policy debates worldwide.” (Source)

Globally, elderly populations are rising even in developing nations.

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