Global Burden of Disease Study, 2012, on Musculoskeletal Conditions as the Second Greatest Cause of Disability Globally

The Global Burden of Disease, GBD, Study 2010 is the largest ever study to describe the global distribution and causes of a wide array of major disease, injuries and health risk factors.

Musculoskeletal conditions were shown to be the second greatest cause of disability globally, affecting over 1.7 billion people worldwide and have the fourth greatest impact on the overall health of the world population, considering both death and disability. GBD 2010 showed that that low back pain is the leading cause of disability and that osteoarthritis is one of the fastest growing conditions.

The GBD has released a press note on the 15th of December 2012 calling on governments and the World Health Organization (WHO) to prioritize musculoskeletal health and make it a public health priority, after findings published in the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. The study demonstrates the impact of musculoskeletal diseases in all regions of the world, and affirms the latter to be the second greatest cause of disability globally.

This report provides indisputable evidence that musculoskeletal conditions are an enormous and emerging problem in all parts of the world and need to be given the same priority for policy and resources as other major conditions like cancer, mental health and cardiovascular disease.

“The release of the Global Burden of Disease Study reemphasizes that Musculoskeletal Conditions have been under recognized around the world for their impact on Society. Even in the developed world research funding for musculoskeletal conditions has not matched the burden of disease. This report should be the wake-up call to governments around the world, particularly in the developed world, to increase the funding for research and prevention activities to match the disease burden,” said Stuart Weinstein, MD, co-chair, The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States (BMUS).

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