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Poor diet and heart disease the world’s health problem - analysis

Friday September 15th, 2017

Ischaemic heart disease is now the leading cause of premature mortality in most regions of the world – while “unhealthy” diets are linked to 20% of deaths, according to a major analysis published today.

Only in the poorest countries do infectious diseases, mainly chest infections, now account for most deaths – and survival is improving in many of these countries, according to the last Global Burden of Disease study.

The researchers, reporting in The Lancet, report that ischaemic heart disease caused 9.48 million deaths worldwide last year, a 19% increase in ten years.

The number of deaths from diabetes increased by 31% reaching 1.43 million people, they found.

They say that eating food low in whole grains, fruit, nuts, seeds and fish oils and high in salt most commonly contributed to poor diet.

The researchers warn that fatalities from two infectious diseases have increased. There has been an 81.8% increase in deaths from dengue fever in ten years and a 67.6% increase in deaths from drug resistant TB.

Meanwhile deaths from conflict and terrorism have more than doubled in ten years – reaching 150,500 last year – and there has also been a small increase in other kinds of violent death, the researchers warn.

Tobacco was blamed for 7.1 million deaths.

Researcher Dr Christopher Murray, of the University of Washington, Seattle, USA, said: "Our findings indicate people are living longer and, over the past decade, we identified substantial progress in driving down death rates from some of the world's most pernicious diseases and conditions, such as under age-5 mortality and malaria.

"Yet, despite this progress, we are facing a triad of trouble holding back many nations and communities - obesity, conflict, and mental illness, including substance use disorders."

Global, regional, and national disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for 332 diseases and injuries and healthy life expectancy (HALE) for 195 countries and territories, 1990-2016 Lancet 15 September 2017 [abstracts]

Tags: Diabetes | Diet & Food | Heart Health | North America | World Health

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