Poor diet linked to 1 in 5 deaths globally

Henrietta Brewer
April 7, 2019

"While fat, sugar, and sodium have been over the past two decades the focus of policy debates, our assessment suggests that low consumption of healthy foods, such as vegetables, seeds and nuts, fruits, and whole grains, or high intake of sodium are the leading dietary risk factors", said Director of University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Dr. Christopher Murray, an author of the study (Source).

It said the biggest problem with the British diet was a lack of whole grains, fruit, vegetables and nuts and seeds.

He added that the study showed that campaigners should start promoting healthy foods such as nuts and fruit rather talking about the harmful affects of red meat, sugar and fat.

This is because there is a bigger gap between how much healthy food people should eat and what they actually do, than how much unhealthy food people eat and the amount they should consume. "Death from a poor diet is more than it is from blood pressure and tobacco usage". Of these, 10,000 deaths were from heart disease, 913,000 were from obesity-related cancers, and almost 339,000 from type 2 diabetes. The United States ranked 43rd, while Britain was 23rd, China 140th and India 118th.

The study found that 11 million people, nearly half of whom are younger than 70, die each year owing to eating unhealthy food; in comparison, tobacco is linked to 8 million deaths, and blood pressure to 10.4m.

Annual deaths related to diet have increased from 8 million in 1990, but the researchers said this was largely due to increases in populations and populations ageing.

Nuts should also be eaten daily as another source of plant-protein and healthy fats.

He said instead of just focusing on messages that people should avoid unhealthy foods like processed meat and sugary drinks, "the ideal scenario would focus on healthy replacements for unhealthy foods". On the other hand, Uzbekistan was one of the worst, while the US ranked 43rd on the list.

What would happen if everyone around the globe began to eat a healthy diet, filling three-fourths of their plates with fruits, vegetables and whole grains?

Research carried out by Dr Christopher Murray, Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington in the USA has found that Israel has the world's healthiest diet, or to be more precise, the world's least unhealthy diet.

Each of these factors accounted for more than 2% of all deaths globally.

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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