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Top ten causes of deaths in upper income countries 2016

In 2016, diabetes mellitus caused about 23 deaths per 100,000 population in upper income countries. This statistic displays the top ten leading causes of death in upper income countries by deaths per 100,000 population in 2016. Mortality from chronic diseases such as cancer and heart diseases are increasing around the world. Chronic deaths are especially prominent in Western countries but have also recently began to increase in the developing world.

Non-communicable disease burden

This increase in chronic and degenerative non-communicable diseases globally stems from aging populations, modernization and rapid urbanization. Though these are all signs of socioeconomic progress, the resulting shift in disease carries a heavy burden for societies. Health expenditure makes up around 10 percent or more of the GDP in most high-income countries and the global spending on medicines is expected to nearly double from 2010 to 2023.

Non-communicable disease risk factors and prevention

In most OECD countries, over 30 percent of adults are overweight. Lack of exercise, poor nutrition, and generally unhealthy lifestyles can often lead to a cluster of symptoms including abnormal blood levels, high blood pressure, and excess body fat, which in turn pose an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. However, most non-communicable diseases are preventable and their modifiable risk factors can be lowered through lifestyle and behavioral changes. According to adults in the U.S., about 40 percent reported using fitness apps several times per week, and a top motivation behind changing to healthier eating habits was to prevent future health conditions.

Leading 10 causes of death in upper income countries in 2016

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Release date

May 2018



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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Statistics on "Global health"

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