New figures have shown that those who are financially better off are far more likely to be seriously ill in later life.
Conditions linked to rich lifestyles, such as heart disease and strokes, have overtaken infectious illnesses as the world main cause of death.
The report by the World Health Organisation claimed that by 2030, the only contagious disease in the top ten global killers will be HIV/Aids.
A third of deaths will e caused by road crashes, cancer or cardiovascular disease by 2050, while tobacco will remain the single largest preventable killer.
Dr Margaret Chan, director of the World Health Organisation said, “Diabetes and asthma are on the rise everywhere, even low-income countries are seeing shocking increases in obesity, especially in urban areas and often starting in childhood.”
7.4million people died from cancer in 2004 but by 2030 the WHO warned the figure would be half that again.
In the same period, cardiovascular disease deaths will rise to 23.4million, up from 17.1million, the figures showed.
And as more people are able to own cars in developing countries, road deaths will almost double. Malaria, TB and bowel disease will kill fewer as mosquito nets, clean water and vaccines get more widely available.
The report also said, tobacco will ‘kill a third to half of those who use it’.
More than 80 per cent of those deaths in 2030 will be in poor countries.