Imbalanced diet causes 1 in 5 deaths


A study conducted in 195 countries and published in Lancet highlights the relationship between poor nutrition and deadly diseases

An unbalanced diet, low in healthy nutrients and with too much salt, is correlated with 1 in 5 deaths. The figure emerges from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, which monitors mortality and morbidity from 1990 to the present in 195 countries worldwide, and was published Sept. 15, 2017 in Lancet.

According to the GBD, diets low in whole grains, fruits, nuts, fish oils (omega-3) and oilseeds, and characterized by excessive salt consumption, are closely related to deaths caused by so-called noncommunicable diseases, which are mainly attributable to lifestyle, primarily diet.

Food-related diseases

Unbalanced diet also underlies four other risk factors-high blood glucose, high blood pressure, high body mass index (BMI) and high total cholesterol-always among the top 10 risk factors for death in men and women worldwide.

World statistics reveal that deaths due to coronary heart disease have increased by nearly one-fifth (19 percent) in the past decade, affecting 9.48 million people in 2016.

Also up 31.1 percent is diabetes-a real threat already with the consumption of one can a day of sugary drinks-which is the cause of death for 1.43 million people. And the rise in obesity shows no sign of stopping.

Researchers’ appeal

The scenario is so telling, and worrying, that the researchers accompanied the study with a editorial, published in Lancet, calling for an annual meeting between the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank and other technical agencies to discuss GBD results and take positions that can influence health policies.

It remains to be ascertained whether the Mediterranean diet is an affordable choice for everyone or is instead-as revealed by a rib of the Moli-Sani study-increasingly reserved for the more educated and affluent segments of the population.

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