A report from the World Health Organization (WHO), Comparative Quantification of Health Risks, which estimates deaths and disability from preventable causes of major diseases , compares the impact of 26 major risk factors, and lists the top 10 globally as:
* Childhood and maternal underweight. * Unsafe sex. * High blood pressure. * Tobacco use. * Alcohol. * Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene. * High cholesterol. * Indoor smoke from solid fuels. * Iron deficiency. * Overweight/obesity.
It's a sobering thought, but most efforts which would help to improve health globally have little to do with what the doctor can do in the clinic ! Doctors take a lot of the credit for the health of their patients, but we need to realise that we can have a much greater impact if we take a more holistic approach. Doctors are supposed to be the "health specialists", but a good engineer who can provide clean drinking water to a village ; or a clever marketing expert who can making smoking "uncool" for teens; or an entrepreneur who can provide white LEDs to illuminate rural homes instead of unsafe paraffin lamps can do far more good to improve the health of the community !