Four Major Industries Responsible for 2.7m deaths in Europe: WHO


The World Health Organization (WHO) blames four major sectors – tobacco, ultra-processed foods (UPFs), fossil fuels, and alcohol – for 2.7 million deaths in Europe each year, accusing them of delaying public reforms that could harm their profitability. These “four industries kill at least 7,000 people in our region every day,” according to Hans Kluge, director of the WHO Europe region, which includes 53 nations, including Central Asia.

The consolidation of these industry sectors into a small number of multinationals “has enabled them to wield significant power over the political and legal contexts in which they operate, and to obstruct public interest regulations that could impact their profit margins,” according to a report released by the WHO.

The industry’s techniques included exploiting vulnerable people through targeted marketing strategies, misrepresenting consumers, and making false claims about the benefits of their products or their environmental credentials, it claimed. “These tactics threaten public health gains of the past century and prevent countries from reaching their health targets,” it stated.

According to the WHO, industry lobbying hampered attempts to combat non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. According to the World Health Organization, about 60% of European adults and one-third of children are overweight or obese.

According to the most recent data from 2017, one in every five deaths in Europe due to cardiovascular disease and cancer was caused by bad eating habits. The WHO advised countries to respond by imposing stricter rules on the marketing of harmful products, monopolistic behaviors, and lobbying. “People must always come before profit,” Dr. Kluge stated.

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