India ranks very high among the nations struck by the rising wave of "premature deaths" caused by noncommunicable diseases, mainly heart and blood ailments, the WHO said in its latest report.
The report said that the diseases like cardiovascular, cancers, chronic respiratory, blood pressure and diabetes are an offshoot of growing affluence of the middle classes as well as worsening health conditions among people below poverty line.
"Exposure to the four main behavioural risk factors that contribute to NCDs - tobacco use, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets, remains high worldwide and is increasing in the majority of low - and middle-income countries," said Ala Alwan, WHO's Assistant Director General.
India is placed in the "lower middle" income group.
Barring Afghanistan, India is worst affected by what are often described as NCDs (non-communicable diseases) in South Asia with around 38 per cent of premature deaths of males and 32.1 per cent of females below 60 years.
The total number of NCD deaths are estimated at around 2967.6 (000s) in males and 2273.8 (000s) females.
"NCDs are estimated to account for 53 per cent of all deaths," said the WHO's "Noncommunicable Diseases Country profiles" on India.
Rising incomes and insecurity caused by the stress factors have contributed to 24 per cent cardio-vascular diseases which are primarily centred around stroke and heart attack.
The second high death component in the CVDs is due to respiratory diseases, primarily lung and pulmonary diseases, which claimed around 11 per cent of lives. Deaths from other NCDs and diabetes account for 12 per cent.