Poor diet is linked to one in five deaths worldwide, a major report has concluded. The finding was published yesterday, forming part of the Global Burden of Disease report, the most in-depth study of global mortality rates ever conducted.
Researchers at the University of Washington said the two extremes of inadequate nutrition in poor communities and unhealthy eating in richer populations kill a fifth of human beings.
The biggest driving factor is that millions of people are eating a diet which consists of too much salt and saturated fat, and not enough fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, omega 3, and whole grains, the authors warn.
The Western diet is loosely defined as one full of fatty and sugary foods, such as burgers, fries and soda. Health effects have been linked to things such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, colorectal cancer and dementia.
“Among all forms of malnutrition, poor dietary habits – particularly low intake of healthy foods – is the leading risk factor for mortality,” researchers concluded.
The studies, drawing from the input of 2,500 experts, also showed that one in seven people – 1.1 billion – are “living with mental health and substance use disorders.”
Major depression ranked among the top ten causes of ill health in all but four of the 195 countries and territories covered. Mental health services are chronically underfunded in most nations, especially in the developing world.
Source: The Guardian Newspaper