As of 2014, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) accounted for approximately 88% of the all deaths in the United States. The leading cause of death, cardiovascular disease, contributed approximately 614,000 deaths followed closely by the cancer, which was responsible for 592,000 deaths.
According to a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in November 2016, the risk of death from heart disease and cancer has declined since the 1960s and 1990s, respectively. However, while the absolute number of deaths from heart disease has decreased from 1969-2014, the overall number of cancer deaths has increased. There are racial and ethnic differences with respect to burden of disease: heart disease was the leading causing of death for non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black populations in 2014 while cancer was the leading cause of death among Hispanics and non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islanders.Of note, cancer has surpassed heart disease as the leading cause of death in 22 states. If current trends continue, it is predicted that cancer will become the leading cause of death by 2020. It is important to note that an additional 210,000 deaths annually are attributed to stroke and diabetes (133,000 and 77,000, respectively).
In addition, chronic lower respiratory disease accounts for 1 in every 12 deaths, or approximately 147,000 deaths. One major risk factor contributing to the burden of NCDs in the United States is obesity. More than 1/3 of US adults (36.5%) are obese and the prevalence of obesity is slightly higher among women compared to men (38.3% vs. 34.3%). In terms of race and ethnicity, Non-Hispanic black adults have the highest prevalence of obesity (48.1%), followed by Hispanics (42.5%), non-Hispanic whites (34.5%), and non-Hispanic Asians adults (11.7%). Although the prevalence of smoking has declined since 2005, it remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for 1 in every 5 deaths. As of 2015, 15% of U.S. adults aged 18 or older smoke cigarettes (CDC).