Understanding The Relationships Between Noncommunicable Diseases, Unhealthy Lifestyles, And Country Wealth

Authors: Thomas J. Bollyky, Caroline Andridge, and Joseph L. Dieleman

The amount of international aid given to address noncommunicable diseases is minimal. Most of it is directed to wealthier countries and focuses on the prevention of unhealthy lifestyles. Explanations for the current direction of noncommunicable disease aid include that these are diseases of affluence that benefit from substantial research and development into their treatment in high-income countries and are better addressed through domestic tax and policy measures to reduce risk-factor prevalence than through aid programs. This study assessed these justifications. First, we examined the relationships among premature adult mortality, defined as the probability that a person who has lived to the age of fifteen will die before the age of sixty from noncommunicable diseases; the major risk factors for these diseases; and country wealth. Second, we compared noncommunicable and communicable diseases prevalent in poor and wealthy countries alike, and their respective links to economic development. Last, we examined the respective roles that wealth and risk prevention have played in countries that achieved substantial reductions in premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases. Our results support greater investment in cost-effective noncommunicable disease preventive care and treatment in poorer countries and a higher priority for reducing key risk factors, particularly tobacco use.

See more in Global; Health

Primary Sources

European Agenda on Migration

On May 13, 2015, the European Commission outlined its agenda on migration, in response to the influx of migrants from Ukraine, the Middle East, Asia, and North Africa who were seeking asylum in Europe. Implementation packages were released May 27 and September 9, with details on refugees distribution, funds for countries receiving and settling refugees, and search and rescue operations for traveling refugees.

See more in EU; Migration; Refugees and the Displaced

Primary Sources

Remarks by European Commission President Juncker on the State of the Union

On September 9, 2015, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker spoke about issues the European Union is facing, including the influx of refugees, the relationships of Greece and of Britain to the EU, the conflict in Ukraine, and climate change. He released updates for the European Agenda on Migration and for the ten priorities of the European Commission (first outlined in 2014).

See more in EU; Eurozone; Grand Strategy


A Role for the World Trade Organization on Regulatory Coherence

Author: Thomas J. Bollyky
The E15 Initiative

The way the world trades has changed since the World Trade Organization (WTO) was established. Fewer goods and services originate from any one supplier or country. Components and intermediate services are increasingly sourced and assembled from specialist suppliers around the world. Regulation also plays a more significant role in this era of international trade. The adequacy of regulatory oversight has become more important as complex, unbundled global supply chains have become harder for businesses and customers to monitor.

See more in Global; Global Governance


Power Profile: Pope Francis

Speaker: Kurt Martens
Speaker: Thomas J. Reese
Speaker: John Thavis
Presider: Katherine Marshall

Experts discuss the leadership style, psychology, personality, and policies of Pope Francis ahead of his upcoming visit to the United States.

See more in Global; Religion; Vatican/Holy See


Could Iran Be Following a Soviet Model Toward Downfall?

Author: Ray Takeyh
Wall Street Journal

Overall, the landscape of Iran suggests few reasons for optimism: The Islamic Republic has negotiated an advantageous arms-control agreement, and the accord looks likely to survive opposition in the U.S. Congress. Tehran’s regime represses its citizens and has embarked on an expansion of its influence from the Persian Gulf to the banks of the Mediterranean. 

See more in Iran; United States; Treaties and Agreements


The Ally That Wasn't

Author: Elliott Abrams

In a review for Commentary, Elliott Abrams analyzes Ambassador Michael Oren’s new book Ally. Abrams notes that while Ambassador Oren frankly describes the various actions by President Obama that worsened relations between the U.S. and Israel, he is not candid about the supporters who defended Obama as he went down that path.

See more in United States; Israel; Diplomacy and Statecraft