Monday April 22, 2019

One in Five Deaths Globally Due to Overconsumption of Sugar, Salt and Meat

The United Nations estimates that nearly 1 billion people worldwide are malnourished, while nearly 2 billion are "overnourished"

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FILE - A selection of donuts, bagels, rolls, croissants, turnovers and sticky buns are displayed in a New York coffee cart, April 10, 2012. VOA

One in five deaths globally is linked to poor diet, experts said in a study released Thursday, warning that overconsumption of sugar, salt and meat was killing millions of people every year.

The United Nations estimates that nearly 1 billion people worldwide are malnourished, while nearly 2 billion are “overnourished.”

But the latest study on global diet trends, published in The Lancet, showed that in nearly every one of the 195 countries surveyed, people were also eating too much of the wrong types of food — and consuming worryingly low levels of healthier produce.

Sugar, sodium

For example, the world on average consumes more than 10 times the recommended amount of sugar-sweetened beverages, and 86 percent more sodium per person than is considered safe.

overconsumption
FILE – A mixture of salty snacks and chips is shown on a table in Pittsburgh’s Market Square, Feb. 7, 2012. VOA

The study, which examined consumption and disease trends between 1990 and 2017, also cautioned that too many people were eating far too few whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Of the 11 million deaths attributed to poor diet, by far the largest killer was cardiovascular disease, which is often caused or worsened by obesity.

“This study affirms what many have thought for several years — that poor diet is responsible for more deaths than any other risk factor in the world,” said study author Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

“Our assessment suggests the leading dietary risk factors are high intake of sodium, or low intake of health foods.”

overconsumption
Of the 11 million deaths attributed to poor diet, by far the largest killer was cardiovascular disease, which is often caused or worsened by obesity. Pixabay

The report highlighted large variation in diet-related deaths among nations, with the highest-risk country, Uzbekistan, having 10 times the food-based mortality rate of the lowest risk, Israel.

Earlier report

In January, a consortium of three dozen researchers called for a dramatic shift in the way the world eats.

The EAT-Lancet report said that the global population must eat roughly half as much red meat and sugar, and twice as many vegetables, fruits and nuts in order to avert a worldwide obesity epidemic and avoid “catastrophic” climate change.

Authors of Thursday’s study noted that economic inequality was a factor in poor dietary choices in many countries.

overconsumption
The United Nations estimates that nearly 1 billion people worldwide are malnourished, while nearly 2 billion are “overnourished.” Pixabay

It found that on average, reaching the “five a day” fruit and vegetable servings advocated by doctors cost just 2 percent of household income in rich nations, but more than a half of household income in poorer ones.

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“This study gives us good evidence of what to target to improve diets, and therefore health, at the global and national level,” said Oyinlola Oyebode, associate professor at Warwick Medical School in Coventry, England, who was not involved in the research.

“The lack of fruit, vegetables and whole grains in diets across the world are very important — but the other dietary factor highlighted by this study is the high intake of sodium,” Oyebode said. (VOA)

Next Story

Poor Diet: Root Cause Of Millions Of Deaths in India

"Poor diet is an equal opportunity killer. We are what we eat and risks affect people across a range of demographics, including age, gender, and economic status," said lead author Ashkan Afshin, Assistant Professor at the varsity. 

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The causes of these deaths included 10 million deaths from cardiovascular disease, 913,000 cancer-related deaths, and almost 339,000 deaths from Type-2 diabetes.  Pixabay

A poor diet, particularly the low intake of whole grains and fruits, accounts for hundreds of deaths in India annually, say researchers.

The study, reported in the Lancet journal, analysed data from 195 countries and found that one in five deaths globally — equivalent to 11 million deaths — are associated with lack of optimal amount of food and nutrients.

Low intake of whole grains — below 125 grams 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.

diet
The findings highlight 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. Pixabay

In Bangladesh, low intake of fruits — below 250 grams per day — was the leading dietary risk.

In 2017, the countries with the lowest rates of diet-related deaths were Israel, France, Spain, Japan and Andorra. India ranked 118th with 310 deaths per 100,000 people.

The findings highlight 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.

“This study affirms what many have thought for several years — that poor diet is responsible for more deaths than any other risk factor in the world,” said Christopher Murray, Director at the University of Washington in the US.

diet
A poor diet, particularly the low intake of whole grains and fruits, accounts for hundreds of deaths in India annually, say researchers.
Pixabay

“Poor diet is an equal opportunity killer. We are what we eat and risks affect people across a range of demographics, including age, gender, and economic status,” said lead author Ashkan Afshin, Assistant Professor at the varsity.

While a poor diet caused an estimated 11 million deaths, diets high in sodium, low in whole grains, and low in fruit together accounted for over five million of all diet-related deaths globally in 2017.

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The causes of these deaths included 10 million deaths from cardiovascular disease, 913,000 cancer-related deaths, and almost 339,000 deaths from Type-2 diabetes.

Deaths related to diet have increased from eight million in 1990, largely due to increases in the population and population ageing, the report said. (IANS)