Before dwelling too much on the grim headline of this piece, let’s start with the positive: A poor diet, which contributes to 21 percent of deaths worldwide and is being called the biggest contributor to premature death, can be both prevented and reversed.
According to the results of the study, having a diet that is low in fruit, whole grains, and vegetables, and high in red meat and sugar-sweetened drinks, contributed to more deaths than any other factor (smoking, air pollution, alcohol) leading to early death around the world. An unhealthy diet can cause ischemic heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Smoking also continues to reign as a top killer in addition to high blood pressure and environmental factors such as air pollution.
Researchers note the best way to combat these contributors, particularly poor diets, is to put more focus on helping children develop healthy habits well before adulthood. “The challenge for governments and the health development community more broadly is to heed this knowledge about the comparative effect of health risks more assiduously, and orient health policies towards their mitigation with much greater conviction than that currently observed,” said the researchers.
What do you think should be done in the U.S. to prevent the perpetuation of unhealthy eating and physical inactivity?