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Wrong diets cause tens of millions of deaths

Wrong diets cause tens of millions of deaths


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Too many people eat an unhealthy diet and endanger their life expectancy
There are certainly many people today who pay attention to a healthy and balanced diet. Even so, poor nutrition is still widespread. Researchers have now found that an unhealthy diet is the key factor in one in five deaths worldwide.

The University of Washington scientists found that a fifth of all deaths worldwide were due to unhealthy eating. The doctors published the results of the Global Burden of Disease study in the journal "The Lancet".

Global Burden of Disease study analyzes life expectancy worldwide
Millions of people eat food that is not healthy for the body. A diet that contains only a little wholegrain, fruit, nuts and fish oils but contains a lot of salt increases the risk of premature death, the experts explain. The latest Global Burden of Disease study compiled data from all countries worldwide and estimates were made for countries with insufficient data. For example, the experts analyzed general life expectancy, the causes and risk factors for premature death and illnesses that occur.

What is the average life expectancy in most countries?
The doctors found that people generally live longer these days. The worldwide life expectancy in 2016 was 75.3 years for women and 69.8 years for men. Japan had the highest life expectancy among all countries, at around 84 years. The Central African Republic had the lowest life expectancy. Many people only lived to be around 50 years old there. For comparison, the life expectancy for men in the UK who were born in 2016 is 79 years, and the average life expectancy for British women is 82.9 years, the scientists explain.

Diet is a very important factor in our life expectancy
Our diet is the second highest risk factor for premature death, right after smoking. Other high risks include high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high body mass index (BMI) and high cholesterol, leading to diabetes, the experts say. All of these factors can be linked to an unhealthy diet, although of course they can also have other causes, the doctors explain.

Big challenge for health systems
The effects of an unhealthy diet are very strong. Improper nutrition is one of the really big problems in the world and affects more and more people, the researchers say. For some time now, increasing obesity has attracted a lot of attention. However, it is unclear whether politicians recognize the general threat from unhealthy eating and react correctly to it, the experts report. Unhealthy eating and the associated shorter life expectancy is a really big challenge for health systems.

Most people eat too little fruit
The problem is often seen in connection with the spread of the so-called Western diet. But the real explanation is not that simple. Many people generally eat too little fruit. A diet with enough fruits has many health benefits. Mostly, however, only wealthy people consume a lot of fruit, although there are of course some exceptions.

People should definitely eat whole grains
The consumption of sugary drinks is harmful to health, which most people should know by now. Eating red meat is also unhealthy, but the risk to our health is even greater if we don't eat whole grains, the scientists explain. The healthy compounds in our diet need to be carefully analyzed to better protect people's health, the experts said.

Diet is involved in 72 percent of all deaths from non-communicable diseases
No country in the world is able to solve the problem of the effects of an unhealthy diet on its own. "Our concern should therefore be to think about tackling this problem worldwide," say the experts. Obesity and poor nutrition are risk factors in 72 percent of deaths from non-communicable diseases. Ischemic heart disease is the leading cause of premature death worldwide, followed by lung cancer, strokes and lung disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder).

Especially at a young age, people should pay attention to a healthy diet
"Our evidence suggests that people generally live longer and that significant progress has been made in lowering death rates from some of the world's most harmful diseases over the past decade," the researchers said. Despite these advances, however, there are a myriad of problems that are increasing. These include, for example, obesity, mental disorders and so-called substance use disorders. The experts advise that people should take good care of their health, especially during the early years of their lives and in middle age, in order to create the conditions for a long and healthy life. (as)

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