Send to

Choose Destination

Lifestyle and Related Risk Factors for Chronic Diseases.


Disease and Mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa. 2nd edition. Washington (DC): World Bank; 2006. Chapter 18.


Chronic diseases, often referred to as noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), usually emerge in middle age after long exposure to an unhealthy lifestyle involving tobacco use, a lack of regular physical activity, and consumption of diets rich in highly saturated fats, sugars, and salt, typified by "fast foods." This lifestyle results in higher levels of risk factors, such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, and obesity that act independently and synergistically. The risk factors are frequently undiagnosed or inadequately managed in health services designed to treat acute conditions. Chronic conditions are frequently incorrectly considered to have limited impact on the burden of disease in Sub-Saharan Africa, because of the known high relevance of the infectious diseases. Nevertheless, these diseases occur in younger age groups more commonly in Sub-Saharan Africa than in the developed countries and are at least as common in the poor sector of society as in the more affluent. The current burden of chronic diseases reflects the cumulative effects of unhealthy lifestyles and the resulting risk factors over the life span of people. Some of these influences are present from before a child is born.

Copyright © 2006, The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank.

Support Center