Longer lifespan draws chronic disease concerns

Thursday, July 1, 2010
Issue 1051, Page 4
Word count: 352
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Macau people generally live longer nowadays as the territory’s life expectancy at birth has been going upward and reached 82.4 years in 2009. Yet the correlation between an aging society and chronic diseases is starting to catch the attention of the Government.

The Chronic Disease Prevention Committee held its first meeting yesterday to report on the latest situation of this kind of long-lasting and recurrent non-communicable diseases in Macau.

According to director of the Health Bureau (SS) Lei Chin Ion, in 2009 life expectancy at birth in the SAR was reported at 82.4 years, of which males and females respectively at around 79.5 years and 85 years. When comparing with 2000, local men and women overall died at respectively 77 and 81 years old.

The latest statistics in 2007 also showed that Macau people had a shorter life just than those in Japan and Hong Kong, but enjoyed a longer lifespan than people in seven other countries including Australia, Sweden, United Kingdom, Singapore and the US.

Life expectancy usually implies the level of modernity in a place. It may be a good sign that Macau people are generally living longer, but at the same time it gives rise to an aging society and therefore the aging ratio soared two-fold from 30 percent to 60 percent in the territory.

Lei said cancer was the top killer in Macau causing 33.1 percent of deaths last year, followed by hypertension and heart disease.

Yet, chronic non-communicable diseases accounted for nearly 64 percent of deaths in 2009, mainly cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease.

The Chronic Disease Prevention Committee therefore plans to give priority to these four diseases in the year ahead and form four independent groups to implement the work.

During the year 2010-2011, the committee is going to collect data such as the morbidity rate and risk factors from medical institutes for the formulation of policies and measures in the future.

In addition, publicity campaigns will be launched through the mass media and leaflets will be mailed to local residents aiming to raise the public’s awareness in the prevention of chronic diseases.


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