Heart diseases, chronic respiratory conditions, cancer and diabetes are the world's top four killer diseases - more fatal than the much feared ailments like AIDS and influenza A (H1N1), says United Nations official.
United Nations University-International Institute for Global Health director Tan Sri Dr Mohamed Salleh Mohamed Yasin said the above finding was frightening because these diseases were "highly preventable" and were due to lifestyle choices.
"Such non-infectious diseases or chronic non-communicable diseases (CNCDs), also contribute to 60 percent of all deaths worldwide," The Star Online quoted him as telling reporters at Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
"It is twice the number of the combined deaths caused by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, maternal and perinatal conditions and nutritional deficiencies," he added.
Mohamed Salleh also said that such illnesses were silent killers and would affect those who do not control their diet and exercise.
"The rise in these CNCDs may be caused by the improved standard of living in countries like India and China where people become more affluent and eat richer foods," he said.
He added that the four top diseases were pinpointed by the recently formed Global Alliances for Chronic Diseases in its inaugural summit in New Delhi and that it was now working towards coordinating research to combat the diseases.