According to World Health Organization statistics, over 57 million people died from preventable diseases in 2006, more disease-related deaths in one year than the combined total of combat deaths in two world wars.

Does this mean that 57 million is more than the total of deaths in two world wars?

  • 1
    What exactly is your question? – stangdon Mar 11 '16 at 16:49
  • according to sentece: is X more than Z ? X=over 57 million people died. Z= total of deaths in two world wars. – yorgun Mar 11 '16 at 16:58
  • Your question doesn't have any question in it. You should edit it to include what you are actually asking. – James Mar 11 '16 at 16:59
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    What aspect of the phrase is the most difficult to understand? Is it what the phrase is describing or are you having trouble with "combined total" or something else? We can say "yes, that's what it means" but we may be able to be more helpful if we understand a little more about why it's difficult. – ColleenV Mar 11 '16 at 20:18
  • The original quote was "combat" deaths. Some sources put the toll for WWII alone as 60M, and for WWI as 20M, including civilians. – Cascabel Mar 12 '16 at 0:59

Yes, that is exactly what it means, but the numbers may not be compatible.

You have to keep in mind:

1) that the population of the world has increased since the two World Wars (population inflation) and that reporting nowadays given computer technology is more accurate in recording data.

2) "preventable deaths" covers the entire world, where as the deaths in the World Wars primarily covered military deaths and possibly some civilian deaths where the conflicts were less geographically spread out.

3) there would have been some (naturally) "preventable deaths" which occurred during the World Wars, but may not have been recorded or at least included in the war casualty figures.

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  • Question on point 2: you are taking into account that civilian to military deaths were 2:1 during WWII? something like 40M? – Cascabel Mar 12 '16 at 1:09
  • My point in #2 is that combat deaths seems to be a narrow category and there were possibly many more deaths in general, so combat deaths would actually be a low number in comparison to the number of people who died for various reasons. The OP's statement seems to want to express that "preventable deaths" were very high in comparison to war deaths, but the definition of war (combat) deaths is fairly narrow, so of course many different fatality numbers will seem high in comparison (not to take away anything from the valour and sacrifice of combatants on both sides of WW1 and WW2). – Peter Mar 12 '16 at 1:50
  • OK, it's just that phrase "possibly some civilian deaths" took me by surprise. The trend in all wars since that time has been towards an overwhelmingly high civilian to military casualty rate. I'm not trying to take away from the valour of the combatants either, (after all, I did serve during the Vietnam conflict) but I just don't want people to forget that the majority of people who suffer and die during wars are civilians who get caught in the middle. It's even worse now than it was then. – Cascabel Mar 12 '16 at 3:07

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