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Top 5 Most Populated Countries | Chronic Disease Stats 2002-2005

Chronic Disease Stats – Introduction

Today, I have an interesting topic for you about the impact of chronic disease based on where the majority of the population lives in this big wide world.

The data is collected way back from 2002-2005 published by World Health Organization (WHO). The reason behind posting this old data is to capture the world health statistics then and in my next related post, I will compare this old data with more recent statistics – 2019 (a gap of 17 years in a more technologically advanced world).

Chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability worldwide.

World Health Organization (WHO)

What is the definition of a Chronic disease?

A disease that persists for a long time. A chronic disease is one lasting 3 months or more.

-U.S. National Center for Health Statistics

This type of disease cannot be cured permanently using medication.  Have you ever wondered what types of chronic diseases are prevalent by region throughout the World?

I always did because we traveled to 30 countries so far and this topic is always grabbing my attention as I witness many people with different lifestyles, priorities, cultures and the environment looking much healthier than where I live.

What is the definition of an Equator?

The Equator is an imaginary line drawn around the earth equally distant from both poles, dividing the earth into northern and southern hemispheres and constituting the parallel of latitude 0°.

Now, see the below picture where it is showing us the list of countries along the Equator (is the straight-line below).

List of Countries right along the Equator
Picture Courtesy is ThoughtCo.

Why are we worried about the Equator anyway? well, there are studies and experiences out there today talking about “any individual’s health is impacted by how close or away they are from the Equator”.

Now, let’s look at the Top 5 most populated countries in the World and we also have a good combination of these countries that are away and closer to the equator.


Let’s dive into the disease statistics for each of these countries with the data we have available from 2002-2005.

The WHO organization has collected the data for different years (2002 and 2005) in the statistics for different countries (Deaths by cause, all ages, and Projected Deaths by cause, all ages).

1. The United States – Away from the Equator

  • This country is away from the Equator
  • Chronic diseases accounted for 88% of all deaths
  • Top 3 causes = 38% – Heart disease; 23% – Cancer; 16% – Other chronic diseases
  • 79% Men and 77% Women – Overweight in 2002

2. Brazil – Very close to the Equator

  • This country is very close and right along the Equator
  • Chronic diseases accounted for 72% of all deaths
  • Top 3 causes: 32% – Heart disease; 17% – Communicable, maternal and Perinatal, nutritional deficiencies; 15% – Cancer
  • 55% Men and 62% Women – Overweight in 2005

3. China – Away from the Equator

  • This country is away from the Equator
  • Chronic diseases accounted for 79% of all deaths
  • Top 3 causes: 33% – Heart disease; 20% – Cancer; 17% – Chronic respiratory disease
  • 34% Men and 30% Women – Overweight in 2005

4. India – Closer to the Equator

  • This country is closer to the Equator
  • Chronic diseases accounted for 53% of all deaths
  • Top 3 causes: 36% – Communicable, maternal and Perinatal, nutritional deficiencies; 28% – Heart disease; 11% – Injuries;
  • 22% Men and 21% Women – Overweight in 2005

5. Indonesia – Very close to the Equator

  • This country is very close and right along the Equator
  • Chronic diseases accounted for 61% of all deaths
  • Top 3 causes: 29% – Communicable, maternal and Perinatal, nutritional deficiencies; 28% – Heart disease; 12% – Cancer;
  • 12% Men and 28% Women – Overweight in 2002

Summary of the Top 5 countries statistics (2002 and 2005)


I summarized the data in a spreadsheet so we can clearly see what are some conclusions that we can draw from all this data. Below is the summary of the same.



  • Obesity displays as the major factor behind all types of chronic diseases in the US (88% of death caused by chronic diseases; 78% of people on average are obese )
  • However, the same is not true for China which has a lower percentage of obesity but almost closer to the US of the deaths due to chronic disease but China is known for its unhealthy Industrial / Air pollution
  • India has the lowest percentage of deaths caused by chronic disease – 53% but has the highest percentage of Communicable, Maternal, and Perinatal, nutritional deficiencies. India is also known for being highly polluted.
  • Brazil is right along close to the Equator and yet not showing healthy overall results. One reason is clear with Obesity where it earned 2nd place to the US. Death by chronic diseases is 72% in this country
  • Indonesia has the least obesity within the 5 countries and is very close to the Equator but has nutritional deficiencies – 61% of deaths caused by chronic disease

Well, we couldn’t conclude one way or the other that living closer to the Equator or away from the Equator has any health benefits because the top 5 most populated countries are not really similar environmentally.

When I plan my next post on similar study, I will not only gather the more recent statistics (2019) for these 5 top countries to see how the time and age impacted the health big picture but also want to study and include a comparison chart for developed nations (at least 5) and developing nations (at least 5) separately so we see apples to apples and not apples to oranges.

I also firmly believe that what we eat highly impacts our health as well, so I plan to include dietary factors in the study.

Until my next post, stay healthy and be happy 🙂

References World Health Organization – Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD) Country Profiles, 2018 (A 224 page PDF file) (Top 10 countries with the largest population)

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Simi is a science graduate and a passionate lifestyle blogger from the melting pot who loves to share what she is good at. She desires to write easy to understand blog posts based on research, studies, and experiences and also shares her amazing travel adventures to inspire her readers. Simi is married to her grad school sweetheart, Vincent, and they live with their two sweet furry kids (doggies), Chui and Mui.