Fewer children under five dying than ever before

The 2016 GBD study is out at The Lancet.

The Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) is the most comprehensive worldwide observational epidemiological study to date. It describes mortality and morbidity from major diseases, injuries and risk factors to health at global, national and regional levels. Examining trends from 1990 to the present and making comparisons across populations enables understanding of the changing health challenges facing people across the world in the 21st century.

One section deals with Mortality, and of major significance is the deaths of children (< 5 years). Around 4.6%  – 340 million – of the worlds population of 7.5 billion is under 5 (UN World Population Prospects 2017). Death is becoming the preserve of the old – as it should be. In the last 50 years, death has shifted decisively away from children to the aged.

 

About 5 million recorded deaths in 2016 were of children under 5 and had reduced from about 16 million in 1970. In that time the total number of children <5 has doubled. In 2016, deaths of children < 5 has reduced to one-sixth of the proportion in 1970. Almost two-thirds of all deaths are now at ages above 50 years. There are, for the first time, more deaths at ages above 75 than between 50 and 74 and, it would seem, is poised to increase sharply.

About 40% of the world’s population (60% in Africa) is now under 25 years old. The vast majority of them will live to see 75.


 

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