Published: Mon, September 18, 2017
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Eating Badly Is a Leading Cause of Death Worldwide, New Study Shows

Eating Badly Is a Leading Cause of Death Worldwide, New Study Shows

Going forward, researchers conducting the Global Burden of Disease study say they will expand their research to suss out the effects of phenomenon like climate change on global health.

From 2006 to 2016, the total number of deaths caused by communicable, maternal, neonatal and nutritional diseases dropped by 24%.

India stands at a poor 127th rank among 188 countries in terms of achieving the UN's health related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with low scores in air pollution, sanitation, hepatitis B and child waste, according to the study.

The study revealed that heart disease was one of the leading causes of premature death in most regions and killed 9.48 million people globally in 2016.

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Nigeria comes a close second with 0.7 million deaths, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo with 0.3 million deaths. However, with the increased life expectancy, the years lived with ill health or disability have also increased.

Published today (15 September) in The Lancet, The Global Burden of Disease study (GBD) evaluates data on global trends in health in 195 countries around the world. "There is an urgent need to pay attention to health care and monitoring needs of these conditions", he said. Diets low in whole grains, fruit, nuts, seeds and fish oils and high in salt were the most common risk factors, contributing to cases of obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol. Diabetes is also responsible for 1.43 million deaths, a 31 percent increase since 2006. Deaths caused by war and terrorism spiked after 2006, with 150,500 reported in 2016 - a 143% increase from 10 years earlier. The study, coordinated by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, requires assistance from more than 2,500 researchers around the globe.

In 2016, the total number of live births was 128.8 million; the total number of deaths was 54.7 million (up from 42.8 million in 1970).

The study's authors noted that while life expectancy has increased, reaching a global average of 75.3 years for women and 69.8 years for men, we are spending longer periods of our lives in sickness. A box's size represents the proportion of deaths attributed to that cause.

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The IHME-led study, involving more than 2,500 researchers in about 130 countries, found that poor diet was associated with almost one in five deaths worldwide previous year. In addition to diet, other leading risk factors in worldwide deaths are smoking and high blood pressure.

Rates of death also increased for opioid use, amphetamine use and other drug use disorders in some locations - particularly in high-income countries, the researchers said.

Sugary drinks are risky for health and we need to know about healthy compounds in diets that will provide protection, he said. Major depression is included as one of the top 10 causes of poor health in all but four countries involved in the study.

Treatment rates for mental and substance use disorders remain low. "That constellation is a really, really big challenge for health and health systems".

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"A "triad of troubles" - obesity, conflict, and mental illness, including substance use disorders - poses a stubborn and persistent barrier to active and vigorous lifestyles", Murray wrote.

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