25 Important Global Health Facts Every American Needs to Know

Global HealthGlobal health is a worrisome topic for many reasons. Death and disease are major problems in our world, with millions dying each year from preventable diseases, poor access to clean facilities and health resources, and diseases that have not been well controlled. In the facts below, you’ll learn about these troubling conditions in our world; however, you will also discover facts that offer hope, including a rising contraception rate, as well as a rising life expectancy. Read on to learn more about the state of health around the globe.

  1. Together, malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDS killed 5.7 million people last year: This figure accounts for about 10% of the world’s deaths. These diseases are preventable.
  2. Around 10 million children die each year: 10 million children under the age of 5 die every year, and almost all of them would survive if they had access to simple, affordable interventions.
  3. Cases of extensively drug resistant tuberculosis have been confirmed in at least 37 countries: Tuberculosis is a leading killer among infectious diseases. Drug resistant strains have emerged, and affected patients are unresponsive to antibiotic treatments.
  4. Only 61% of people worldwide have access to improved sanitation: African countries have the least access to improved sanitation facilities.
  5. At least 200 million women want to use safe family planning methods but cannot: These women are restricted from family planning by lack of information, services, or support.
  6. An estimated 25 million people have died from HIV/AIDS: About 5,000 people die from AIDS every day, and it caused 1.8 million deaths in 2009.
  7. Sixty-one percent of women aged 15-49 use contraception: In 1990, only 56% of women practiced contraception.
  8. Three billion people are at risk of death from Malaria: Of these 3 billion, there are 250 million cases annually, and 1 million die from malaria each year.
  9. Life expectancy is increasing in the poorest countries: The UN Population Division estimates that if recent progress against infectious diseases continues, life expectancy in the world’s poorest countries will increase by 2050 from 56 years to 69 years.
  10. 16.6 million children were orphaned by AIDS in 2009: Nigeria alone accounts for 2.5 million AIDS orphans.
  11. HIV/AIDS has a .8% prevalence rate worldwide: In Swaziland, 25.9% of adults have HIV/AIDS. African countries far outnumber others in HIV/AIDS prevalence.
  12. 24 million low birthweight babies are born every year: Low birthweight babies are more likely to die early, suffer illness, or experience stunted growth.
  13. Malnutrition prevalence in children has dropped worldwide: Malnutrition measured in weight for children 5 and under has dropped from 25% to 22.4%.
  14. In 2000, 4.9 million people died from tobacco use: Deaths from tobacco use are considered premature, and are preventable.
  15. 2.5 million children are living with AIDS: In 2009, 2.5 million children were living with HIV/AIDS. 360,000 of those cases were in Nigeria.
  16. Better water can prevent 6.3% of deaths worldwide: Improving water supply, sanitation, water resource management, and hygiene could prevent nearly 10% of global diseases and 6.3% of all deaths.
  17. Sierra Leone has the highest infant mortality rate: Out of 1,000 births, 160 will die in Sierra Leone. 16% of children in Sierra Leone die before their 1st birthday.
  18. In 2008, the maternal mortality radio was 260 per 100,000 live births: This estimate is based on fertility, birth attendants, and HIV prevalence.
  19. 40% of deaths are from preventable risks: The top 10 risks globally are childhood and maternal underweight, unsafe sex, high blood pressure, tobacco, alcohol, unsafe water, high cholesterol, indoor smoke, iron deficiency, and overweight/obesity.
  20. Life expectancy has risen worldwide: World life expectancy in 2008 was 68.9, compared with 52.5 in 1980.
  21. The highest life expectancy in the world is 83 years in Japan: Swaziland has the lowest life expectancy of 40 years. There is a 43 year gap between these two countries.
  22. Thirteen percent of the world is undernourished: Globally, 13% of the people in the world are undernourished. 69% of the population in the Democratic Republic of Congo is undernourished.
  23. The adolescent fertility rate has dropped: Births in women ages 15-19 have dropped from 63 per 1,000 births in 1998 to 51.4 per 1,000 births in 2008.
  24. The death rate is dropping slowly: In 1960, there were 18.5 deaths per 1,000 people, compared to 8.2 in 2008. The fertility rate is dropping as well, with a 1960 average of 4.9 births per woman, compared to 2.5 in 2008.
  25. Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980: Obesity is preventable, but 1.5 billion adults are overweight.