The Global Liver Institute (GLI), a patient-led liver health nonprofit, this month released its Global State of Liver Health report, which compiles statistics and expert opinions to encourage lifestyle changes and global management regarding liver health.

Liver diseases have become a leading cause of death worldwide. Some 844 million people worldwide are living with chronic liver disease, which accounts for 2 million deaths each year. In keeping with GLI’s Liver Health Is Public Health initiative, the report dissects some of the challenges faced by specific communities throughout the world and provides specialized recommendations for the prevention of liver diseases.

The report found that various forms of liver disease are on the rise worldwide. Experts credit this to changes in diet and lifestyle that contribute to obesity, which has been connected to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

Despite technological advances, some developing countries still do not have the means (vaccinations, treatment) to control viral hepatitis, which affects more than 360 million people worldwide. Experts involved in the report recommend “national-level action with community-level impact,” according to a GLI news release.

The report provides plans for “averting a disaster in liver disease.” In North America, for example, experts suggest this may be accomplished via  harnessing new technologies, encouraging testing, tackling the obesity crisis and raising awareness of NAFLD and NASH.

“A scarcity of high-quality, summative information about liver health worldwide has forestalled an informed, effective response to the rising challenge of liver disease,” said Donna R. Cryer, president and CEO of GLI, in the news release. “For the 1.5 billion people in the world living with liver diseases—including me—this has been unacceptable. This groundbreaking report is both a rallying cry and a foundational resource for clinicians, policymakers and community leaders to build upon as they combat liver disease.”