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Poor diets are responsible for more deaths globally than any other risk factor, including smoking, study says




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In a study published Wednesday in the journal Lancet, researchers looked at people's eating habits across 195 countries to estimate how many poor diets contribute to mortality. Their findings?

Lead author Ashkan Afshin, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington, said the researchers estimated that, according to the study, some 11 million people die every year around the world. , overall, poor diets are responsible for more deaths around the world than any other risk factor, including cigarette smoking, known to be one of the greatest threats to public health

The problem, he said, is not just what people are eating, but it's also what they're not eating. The study estimated that globally, 3 million deaths were attributed to too much sodium – but another 3 million deaths were attributed to the lack of adequate whole grains, and another 2 million deaths were attributed to a lack of adequate fruit

Experts say (19659009) Afshin, an assistant professor at the University of Washington's Department of Health Metrics Sciences, said the researchers surveyed data on dietary consumption (19659010) The researchers estimated that in 2017, cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of death in non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease. diet-related deaths around the world, followed by certain cancers and diabetes

"The results are based on limited data and assumptions, but concl "said Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food and public health at New York University. Nestle noted that the researchers seem to be recommending a largely, but not exclusively, plant-based diet, "and that's what everyone is saying these days."

Afshin said the countries where people eat a Mediterranean diet – high in heart-healthy fats and fiber – scored the best using the researchers' model, with Israel ranking No. 1 in terms of the lowest number of diet-related deaths. France and Spain ranked second and third, respectively, according to research. Afshin defined the Mediterranean diet as one with a high intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts and healthy oils, such as olive oil.

The United States ranked No. 43.

Uzbekistan and the former Soviet republic, where refined carbohydrates such as bread and pasta have staples, scored the worst, with a death rate of 891 per population of 100,000

Bruce Lee, associate professor of international health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Executive Director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center, said the research provides further support that poor diets are associated with non communicable diseases, which have become a leading killer across the globe, but noted that nutrition is not the only factor. Physical inactivity, as well as various environmental, economic and social factors, are major contributors, he said.

"Diet may contribute to noncommunicable disease (NCDs) through increased body weight and obesity, elevated blood pressure, hyperlipidemia or high levels of fat in the blood, and conditions that lead to high blood sugar levels, "Lee said in an email. He added that one problem is that "unhealthy foods such as those that are highly processed with artificial ingredients are often cheaper to make, store, ship, and prepare. Therefore, such foods have replaced more natural and healthy foods in food systems around the world. "

Nestle, with New York University, suggested that it it makes sense that dietary risks are higher because everyone eats – but not everyone smokes. So, she said that "diet is a risk factor for everybody."

The researchers did not find a country that consistently performed well in all forms of diet. For example, Israel, which scored the highest overall, ranked closer to the bottom when it came to intake of processed meats. But, afshin said, the findings should encourage people to try to eat better and policymakers to create and promote policies that aim to increase the consumption of healthy foods

Read more:

The Mediterranean diet works – but not if you ' re poor and study finds

Why the Mediterranean diet works: It's not just the food – it's how you eat it


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