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Non-communicable diseases

A brief guide to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their impact globally and in Bangladesh.


  • NCDs – diseases that cannot be passed from person to person – include cardiovascular diseases (e.g. heart attacks and stroke), cancerschronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.
  • Smoking, lack of physical activity, misuse of alcohol and unhealthy diets all increase the risk of dying from an NCD.
  • Four key metabolic/physiological changes increase the risk of NCDs: raised blood pressure (hypertension), overweight/obesityhigh blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) and high levels of fat in the blood (hyperlipidemia).
  • In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight; of these, over 650 million were obese.1
  • In 2016, 39% of adults were overweight, and 13% were obese.
  • 39 million children under five years of age were overweight or obese in 2019.
  • NCDs cause 41 million deaths every year, 77% of which occur in low- and middle-income countries.
  • NCDs are the leading cause of death in the world, accounting for 74% of all annual deaths.2
  • Some 17 million NCD deaths occur before the age of 70 – 86% of these ‘premature’ deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
  • In South Asia, NCDs account for more than half of annual mortality.3,4
  • NCDs also pose a huge threat to development and economic growth; they have been estimated to cost health systems globally an estimated US$47 trillion between 2010 and 2030.5

In Bangladesh…

  • NCDs accounted for an estimated 70% of total deaths in Bangladesh in 2019.6
  • In Bangladesh, 52% of men smoke; 1 out of 5 adults have hypertension.7,8
  • There were about 13.14 million cases of diabetes in Bangladesh in 2021.9
  •  An estimated 75,617 deaths were attributed to diabetes in 2021.



1.     https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight

2.     https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/noncommunicable-diseases

3.     https://www.healthdata.org/gbd/2019

4.     https://vizhub.healthdata.org/gbd-compare/

5.     https://ncdalliance.org/why-ncds/the-financial-burden-of-ncds

6.     https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.DTH.NCOM.ZS?locations=BD

7.     https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.PRV.SMOK.MA?locations=BD

8.     https://www.nature.com/articles/s41371-017-0018-x

9.     https://diabetesatlas.org/data/en/country/16/bd.html