Saturday September 21, 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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overconsumption
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

FAO: 822 Million Suffer from Chronic Malnutrition; 2K Million Face Food Insecurity

The food of the future will be conditioned by the increase of the world's population, rapid urbanization and changes in diets, especially in middle and low-income countries

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FILE - A Congolese boy has his arm measured for malnutrition in a clinic run by medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres in the remote town of Dubie in Congo's southeastern Katanga province, March 18, 2006. VOA

Almost 822 million people suffered from chronic malnutrition and about 2,000 million had food insecurity in 2018, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN has said in a report.

New Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Qu Dongyu, faces the challenge of mobilizing more public and private efforts against malnutrition, in a clear rise in the world for the last three years.

Qu will follow the steps of Brazilian José Graziano da Silva, who during his eight years in charge of the FAO will insist on the need to achieve healthier and more sustainable diets as producing enough food globally has not been enough to end hunger, Efe news reported.

Experts demand actions against poor diets to eradicate any ways of malnutrition by 2030, a global goal set by the Agenda for Sustainable Development.

malnutrition
Experts demand actions against poor diets to eradicate any ways of malnutrition by 2030, a global goal set by the Agenda for Sustainable Development. Pixabay

“Governments must facilitate a change in private sector activity in favour of more nutritious, affordable and accessible” Director of Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition (GloPAN) Sandy Thomas told Efe.

She urged the need to reach a common understanding of the “appropriate combination of regulations and incentives”, such as economic aid and subsidies that should support the transformation within the private sector through investment, innovation and efficiency.

It is estimated that in 2016 countries from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) invested more than 200 billion dollars in aid to agriculture. This quantity doubles when including aid from emerging countries.

Current subsidies have led to a model where “producers do not offer what they should” as they continue to provide, above all, cereals such as corn and rice, and products such as meat while it’s more important to eat more fruits and vegetables, the report said.

malnutrition
A Somali boy receives a polio vaccination at the Tunisian hospital in Mogadishu. The hospital treats local diseases, malnutrition, and other injuries. VOA

Poor diet and malnutrition are responsible for 1 out of 3 deaths and can cause noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes or cancer, which cost the world more than 6,3 trillion dollars per year.

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Being overweight and obesity have become a “tsunami” that, paradoxically, coexists with hunger in many countries and requires “more collaboration between sectors,” said Chief Executive Officer of the Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance (NCDs) Katie Dain.

The food of the future will be conditioned by the increase of the world’s population, rapid urbanization and changes in diets, especially in middle and low-income countries. Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Lawrence Haddad, urged the sector to find “new allies” since governments or donors “alone” will not be able to end malnutrition. (IANS)