Economic development by reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease in South Asia
The countries of South Asia have been afflicted with poverty and are under tremendous economic strain. The high prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) due to urbanization and adoption of unhealthy life style is putting further stress on the economy of these countries. The projected cost of CVD in terms of lost GDP by 2015 could be 31 billion US dollars in Pakistan and 237 billion dollars in India if appropriate measures are not adopted to decrease the burden of these diseases. Major risk factors associated with CVD are fortunately modifiable such as tobacco use, alcohol use, hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol, high glucose, low intake of fruits and vegetables and physical inactivity. By adopting policies for control of tobacco use, alcohol use, easy availability of health-promoting foods, provision of opportunities for engaging in physical activity, control of pollution, dissemination of health promotion messages through media and school curricula and introduction of cost-effective screening programs the burden of CVD could be reduced in this region, thereby having a positive impact on the economy of South Asian countries.
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