Chronic non-communicable diseases (NCD) that manifest primarily later in life, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, account for nearly two-thirds of deaths in the world.1 Over the past few decades, the burden of chronic NCD in the USA and worldwide has increased dramatically as a consequence of ageing populations and unhealthy lifestyle changes, including overweight and obesity, lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet habits, cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol drinking. An important feature of these chronic NCD is that they are not independent of each other, but instead often clustered together. A recent systematic review of literature found that multimorbidity (the coexistence of multiple chronic diseases) affects more than half of the elderly population.2 The clustering of chronic NCD could be mediated by shared...

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