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About the I-PATH Population Health
Information Portal
The I-PATH Population Health Information Portal will provide access to a wide variety of resources regarding chronic diseases. This information is being built by I-PATH students, a diverse group which includes physicians, nurses, dieticians, statistical programmers and public health students and professionals. Each student has a unique perspective regarding a particular chronic disease. The goal of this web-site is to provide a reliable source of current and readable information regarding chronic diseases. We hope the information provided will be valuable to the public at large.

In 2009 there were approximately 7 billion people counted by the World Health Organization (WHO) census. Given a net gain of 78 million people in 2009, by 2040-the world census will exceed 9 billion people. The population is growing and aging as longevity is increasing as fertility in many countries decreases. For the entire world, the average life expectancy is 67 for men and 70 for women but this differs from country to country and from region to region. Chronic diseases are rising in every part of the world due to a demographic transition. In high income nations, 75% of all deaths are due to non-communicable diseases. In low income countries, 40% of deaths are due to chronic diseases. In middle income countries like India, China and Jamaica, chronic disease deaths now outnumber deaths due to infections diseases or trauma.

The most important risk factor for developing a chronic disease is age. But the second most important risk factor globally is your body mass index or BMI. BMI is defined as your weight in kilograms divided by the squared height in meters. Please see the resource page on obesity for more information on BMI. A low BMI reflects nutritional deficiency and high BMI reflects caloric excess. The association between mortality and BMI is u-shaped-with the excess mortality at both ends of the BMI spectrum.

The chronic diseases that account for the majority of non-communicable disease deaths are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes. Overall, 80% of premature heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes is preventable and 40% of all cancers are preventable. The main risk factors for the overwhelming majority of chronic disease are smoking, poor diet, low physical activity and alcohol abuse. These factors account for 40% of all cancers and 75% of all cardiovascular diseases strokes and respiratory diseases.

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