Poor diet cause of most global deaths

Lesotho Times - - Health -

LON­DON — Poor diet is the big­gest con­trib­u­tor to early deaths across the world, a study has warned.

Ex­perts said 21 per cent of global deaths can be at­trib­uted to di­ets high in red meat and sug­ary drinks, and lack­ing in fruit, veg­eta­bles and whole­grains.

Eat­ing un­healthily con­trib­utes to the most deaths world­wide by trig­ger­ing ail­ments in­clud­ing heart dis­ease, stroke and di­a­betes.

The top risks as­so­ci­ated with the pre­ma­ture deaths of both men and women are high blood pres­sure, smok­ing, high body mass in­dex (BMI), and high blood sugar lev­els, re­searchers found.

But the great­est cu­mu­la­tive ef­fect on health comes from poor diet, they warned. The team looked at 14 di­etary risk fac­tors, in­clud­ing the con­sump­tion of fruits, veg­eta­bles, whole­grains, nuts and seeds, milk, pro­cessed meat, sug­ary drinks, fi­bre, cal­cium, salt, seafood and dif­fer­ent types of fat.

Over­all, high blood pres­sure was the num­ber one risk fac­tor as­so­ci­ated with global deaths, con­tribut­ing to 10.4 mil­lion deaths. It’s im­pact on mor­tal­ity has grown by more than 49 per cent since 1990, and its in­creas­ing im­pact has been more dra­matic for men than women.

High blood pres­sure grew 39.9 per cent for women and 59 per cent for men.

The risk fac­tors ex­am­ined in the study con­trib­uted to a to­tal of 30.8 mil­lion deaths in 2013, up by one­fifth from 25.1 mil­lion deaths in 1990.

“There’s great po­ten­tial to im­prove health by avoid­ing cer­tain risks like smok­ing and poor diet as well as tack­ling en­vi­ron­men­tal risks like air pol­lu­tion,” said Dr Christo­pher Mur­ray, di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute for Health Met­rics and Evalu-

And the risks vary greatly for men and women.

Smok­ing is a larger prob­lem for males, rank­ing as the num­ber-two risk and as­so­ci­ated with 4.4 mil­lion deaths.

For fe­males, smok­ing is the num­ber-six risk for early death, con­tribut­ing to 1.4 mil­lion deaths.

Sim­i­larly, al­co­hol is a top-10 risk fac­tor for male deaths, but it’s not a lead­ing cause for fe­males.

Chil­dren also strug­gle with dif­fer­ent risks than adults. For chil­dren un­der the age of five, child un­der-nutri­tion . . . which in­cludes chil­dren who are un­der­weight, whose growth is stunted, and who suf­fer from wast­ing (hav­ing a low weight for their height, usu­ally due to star­va­tion or dis­ease) . . . was the num­ber-one cause of death.

Child­hood un­der­nu­tri­tion con­trib­uted to 1.3 mil­lion deaths in 2013, which ac­counts for 21.1 per cent of to­tal un­der-five deaths.

Chad, South Su­dan, Demo­cratic Re­pub­lic of the Congo, So­ma­lia, and Niger were the coun­tries with the high­est pro­por­tion of deaths of chil­dren un­der five due to these risks.

Dr Mo­ham­mad Forouzan­far, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of global health at IMHE and the pa­per’s lead au­thor, said: “While we have seen a tremen­dous growth in risk fac­tors that con­trib­ute to non-com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases like heart dis­ease, pul­monary (lung) dis­eases, and di­a­betes, child­hood un­der-nutri­tion re­mains a huge chal­lenge for some coun­tries.”

The study ex­am­ined which risk fac­tors con­trib­ute to ill­ness as well as early death.

Re­searchers use a mea­sure known as dis­abil­ity-ad­justed life years (DALYS), to mea­sure the loss of health.

One DALY equals one lost year of healthy life and is mea­sured by the sum of years of life lost to early death and years lived with dis­abil­ity.

The lead­ing risk fac­tors as­so­ci­ated with ill­ness in 2013 were the same as for early deaths: high blood pres­sure, smok­ing, and high body mass in­dex.

The re­searchers said high blood pres­sure and smok­ing have moved up in rank since 1990, even though smok­ing rates have fallen in most coun­tries.

And the over­all global data masks tremen­dous re­gional vari­a­tions. In much of the Mid­dle East and Latin Amer­ica, high body mass in­dex is the num­ber-one risk as­so­ci­ated with ill­ness, they said.

In South and South East Asia, house­hold air pol­lu­tion is a lead­ing risk, and In­dia also grap­ples with high risks of un­safe wa­ter and child­hood un­der-nutri­tion.

Al­co­hol is the num­ber-two risk in Rus­sia, and smok­ing is the num­ber-one risk in many high-in­come coun­tries, in­clud­ing the UK. The most marked dif­fer­ences are found in sub-sa­ha­ran Africa, which, un­like other re­gions, is dom­i­nated by a toxic com­bi­na­tion of child­hood un­der-nutri­tion, un­safe wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion, un­safe sex, and al­co­hol use.

— Daily Mail

High Blood pres­sure was THE num­ber one risk Fac­tor AS­SO­CI­ATED with Global DEATHS In 2013.

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