Women: What Your Age Says About Your Health Risks, Via The WHO Report

shutterstock_96965342The World Health Organization released a massive ‘Global Burden of Disease‘ report yesterday, charting the world’s leading causes of death and the most common health problems, as well as people’s biggest disease and disability risk factors in 50 individual countries. Here’s more information on the overall findings. We’re going to focus now on what the report says about the health of 20- to 45-year-old women in North America.

I used this interactive tool from the Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation to look at the biggest disease and death risk factors and the leading causes of death in women in five age groups: 20-24 years old, 25-29 years old, 30-34 years old, 35-40 years old and 40-44 years old — living in “high-income North American” countries. Some of the more interesting and/or surprising things:

Domestic violence. The biggest premature death risk factor for women 20-24 years old is domestic violence; it’s second highest for 25-29 year old women, and in the top 10 risks for all five age groups.

Poor diet. In the 25-29 year old group, more than half of the top 15 premature death risk factors are diet-related, including eating too few fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts, getting too few whole grains, drinking too many sweetened beverages and consuming too much trans fat.

Poor diet, 10 years later. When you get to the 35-39 year old group, you begin to see less risk factors related to poor diet per se and more risk factors related to the consequences of poor diet. The top 15 risk factors for this age group include high body mass index, high fasting blood sugar, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Suicide. Self-harm makes the top-10 leading causes of death lists for all five age groups.

Breast cancer. Women start dying of breast cancer more often beginning in their 30s. Breast cancer is the number 6 killer of women ages 30-34 and the number one killer of women ages 35-44.

HIV/AIDS. Young women in North America are dying of AIDS nont infrequently; it’s within the top seven causes of death for women ages 20 to 40 years old.

Heart disease. Heart disease makes an appearance as a leading killer in the 35-39 year old cohort (5th) and jumps to the number two cause of death for 40-44 year old women.

Click through for more detailed results by age group.


Global - 2010

If you're anybody, male or female, in the world, your biggest risk factors for premature death are high blood pressure, smoking, eating too little fruit, alcohol use, household air pollution, high fasting blood-sugar, high BMI, "ambient PM pollution," physical inactivity and too much sodium. The leading causes of death globally are heart disease, stroke, COPD, lower respiratory infections, lung cancer, HIV/AIDS, diarrheal diseases, road injury, diabetes and tuberculosis.

Health Risk Factors - North America - 2010

The 25 leading risk factors for disease, disability and premature death in high-income North American countries are:
1. Smoking
2. High blood pressure
3. High BMI
4. Alcohol use
5. Physical inactivity
6. Low fruit consumption
7. High fasting blood glucose
8. Low nuts and seeds consumption
9. High total cholesterol
10. High-sodium diet
11. Low vegetable consumption
12. Ambient pollution
13. Low omega-3 fatty acids consumption
14. High processed meat diet
15. High trans fat diet
16. Low fiber diet
17. Low whole grains consumption
18. Low polyunsaturated fatty acid consumption
19. Drug use
20. High consumption of sweetened beverages
21. Lead
22. Low bone mineral density
23. Radon
24. Low calcium intake
25. Low milk consumption.

Causes of Death - North America - 2010

The 25 leading causes of death in high-income North American countries are:
1. Heart disease
2. Stroke
3. Lung cancer
4. Alzheimer's disease
5. COPD
6. Diabetes
7. Lower respiratory infections
8. Colorectal cancer
9. Chronic kindey disease
10. Other cardio & circulatory problems
11. Cirrhosis
12. Breast cancer
13. Road injury
14. Hypertensive heart disease
15. Pancreatic cancer
16. Self-harm
17. Prostate cancer
18. Cardiomyopathy
19. Falls
20. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
21. Leukemia
22. Pyelonephritis & UTI
23. Kidney cancers
24. Parkinson's diseae
25. Liver cancer

20-24 Year Old Women

In high-income north American countries, the biggest risk factors for premature death for women 20-24 are:

1. Domestic violence
2. Drug use
3. Alcohol
4. Childhood sexual abuse
5. Occupational carcinogens
6. Occupational asthmagens
7. Iron deficiency

Leading causes of death were:
1. Road injury
2. Self-harm
3. Interpersonal violence
4. Drug use
5. Poisioning
6. Congenital anomalies
7. Maternal disorders

25-29 Year Old Women in North America

In high-income north American countries, the biggest risk factors for premature death for women 25-29 are:

1. Drugs
2. Domestic violence
3. Alcohol
4. High BMI
5. Physical inactivity
6. Low fruit consumption
7. High fasting blood glucose
8. Low vegetable consumption
9. Low nuts and seeds consumption 10. Childhood sexual abuse
11. Too many sweetened beverages
12. Ambient pollution
13. Low whole-grains consumption
14. High cholesterol
15. High trans fat diet
16. High processed-meat diet
17. Low omega-3 fatty acid intake
18. Low fiber consumption
19. Too much sodium
20. High blood pressure
Leading causes of death were:
1. Road injury
2. Self-harm
3. Interpersonal violence
4. Drug use
5. Poisoning
6. HIV/AIDS
7. Maternal disorders

30-34 Year Old Women in North America

In high-income north American countries, the biggest risk factors for premature death for women 30-34 are:
1. Alcohol
2. High BMI
3. Drug use
4. Domestic violence
5. Smoking
6. Physical inactivity
7. Too little fruit
8. High blood sugar
9. Too few veggies
10. Too few nuts & seeds
11. Ambient pollution
12. High cholesterol
13. Too few whole grains
14. Too many sweetened beverages
15. Too much trans fat
16. Too much processed meat
17. Too few omega-3s
18. Childhood sexual abuse
19. Too little fiber
20. Too much sodium

Leading causes of death were:
1. Road injury
2. Self-harm
3. Violence
4. Drugs
5. Posionings
6. Breast cancer
7. HIV/AIDS
8. Heart disease
9. Diabetes
10. Other cardio and circulatory disorders

35-39 Year Old Women in North America

In high-income north American countries, the biggest risk factors for premature death for women 35-39 are:
1. High BMI
2. Alcohol use
3. Smoking
4. Drug use
5. Physical inactivity
6. Too little fruit
7. Domestic violence
8. High fasting blood sugar
9. Too few veggies
10. Too few nuts & seeds
11. High cholesterol
12. High blood pressure
13. Ambient pollution
14. High sodium intake
15. Too few whole grains


Leading causes of death were:

1. Breast cancer
2. Road injury
3. Self-harm
4. Drug use
5. Heart disease
6. Poisoning
7. HIV/AIDS
8. Interpersonal violence
9. Cirrhosis
10. Stroke

40-44 Year Old Women in North America

In high-income north American countries, the biggest risk factors for premature death for women 35-39 are:
1. Smoking
2. High BMI
3. Alcohol use
4. Physical inactivity
5. Too little fruit
6. Drug use
7. High blood sugar
8. Too few nuts & seeds
9. Too few vegetables
10. Domestic violence
11. High cholesterol
12. Ambient pollution
13. High blood pressure
14. Too much sodium
15. Too much trans fat
Leading causes of death were:
1. Breast cancer
2. Heart disease
3. Self-harm
4. Cirrhosis
5. Road injury
6. Drug use
7. Lung cancer
8. Poisonings
9. Stroke
10. HIV/AIDS
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