While some may think trading these manipulated capital markets has become a leading cause of premature death over the past year, that is not the case. At least not yet. Instead, the leading causes of early death are shown on the chart below compiled by Wired. It maps "the global cost of early mortality - some 1.7 billion years of potential human life forefited annually - sorted by cause of death."
Not surprisingly, Wired notes that heart disease and stroke cause more than a quarter of all deaths. But since they hit mainly older people, the cost in years of life lost is relatively small. Curiously, one of the biggest net contributors to premature loss of life is Malaria, which is one of the biggest killers of children across the developing world. Also surprising: while not large (yet) in absolute terms, natural disasters are by far the fastest-growing contributor to the death toll.
The good news: the big yellow block representing infectious diseases and birth problems, is showing a rapid decline. Which means that "we're making progress; deaths from disorders that could be avoided with basic medications, clean water and neo-natal care, are on the decline."
Some additional perspectives are provided from the below two interactive maps by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, analyzing Disability Adjusted Life-Years (DALY) impact from various noted causes. A quick primer:
The disability-adjusted life year (DALY) is a measure of overall disease burden, expressed as the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death.
Originally developed by Harvard University for the World Bank in 1990, the World Health Organization subsequently adopted the method in 1996 as part of the Ad hoc Committee on Health Research "Investing in Health Research & Development" report. The DALY is becoming increasingly common in the field of public health and health impact assessment (HIA). It "extends the concept of potential years of life lost due to premature death...to include equivalent years of 'healthy' life lost by virtue of being in states of poor health or disability." In so doing, mortality and morbidity are combined into a single, common metric.
An interactive treemap of all causes:
A different perspective, this time broken down by risk factors. The far and ahead leader: "dietary risks", which makes sense for a nation which every day roll sever further into record obesity land.
The best news: clicking too fast on the SPY heatmap in order to benefit from Bernanke's "Wealth Effect" is still not a leading cause of premature death.