1 in 5 deaths linked to poor diet

Kenny Tucker
April 6, 2019

Now, a new study shows a diet loaded with excessive unhealthy foods, and not enough good foods, is associated with one in five deaths worldwide. "People - independent of age, gender, country of residence and socioeconomic status - to some extent are affected by poor dietary habits", says study co-author Dr. Ashkan Afshin, an assistant professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

The causes of these deaths were cardiovascular disease (10 million deaths), cancer (913,000 deaths) and type 2 diabetes (almost 339,000 deaths).

The countries with the lowest rates of diet-related deaths included Israel, France, Spain, Japan, and Andorra. The report also stated that one in five deaths can be avoided by eating and drinking better.

Overall, poor diet is behind 16-percent of adult DALYs around the world.

The study published in the journal The Lancet followed trends in the utilization of 15 dietary foods from 1990 to 2017 of 195 nations.

In 2017, diets low in whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds, and high in trans fats, sugary drinks, red and processed meats, combined for roughly 11 million deaths worldwide.

Of the 11 million deaths linked to diet in 2017, 10 million were a result of cardiovascular disease.

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However, they're encouraging people to focus more on adding healthy foods to their diets, rather than punishing them for eating fat and sugar.

We all know that what we eat can affect our health, energy levels and mood. Low intake of whole grains - below 125 grammes per day - was the leading dietary risk factor for death and disease in India, the US, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Russia, Egypt, Germany, Iran, and Turkey.

A study in January suggested an "ideal diet" for health and for the planet would include a doubling of consumption of nuts, fruits, vegetables and legumes, and a halving of meat and sugar intake. "'Low intake of healthy foods and high intake of unhealthy foods is the leading cause of mortality, globally and in many countries"..."

Meanwhile, the world consumed only 16% of the recommended amount of milk and 23% of the recommended amount of whole grains, compared to 90% more than the recommended amount of processed meat, and 86% more sodium.

But just how does food impact on a country-by-country basis across the globe?

The study funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation found the United States had 171 deaths per 100,000 compared to 127 in the UK.

These latest findings reinforce the urgent need for coordinated global efforts to improve diet, through collaboration with various sections of the food system and policies that drive balanced diets.

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