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‘Poor Diet Is The Major Cause Of Hundreds Of Deaths In India’, Says Study

According to a study conducted by Lancet, one in five deaths, which is equivalent to 11 million death, are associated with poor diet.

Outlook Web Bureau | Apr 04, 2019

Poor diet leads to hundreds of deaths in India annually, according to a Lancet study, which found that globally one in five people die, due to the lack of optimal amounts of food and nutrients on their plates.

The researchers have found, that intakes of all 15 dietary elements were suboptimal for almost every region of the world. No region ate the optimal amount of all 15 dietary factors, and not one dietary factor was eaten in the right amounts by all 21 regions of the world.

The report, which tracked trends in consumption of 15 dietary factors, from 1990 to 2017 in 195 countries, showed that almost every region of the world could benefit from rebalancing their diets.

Some regions did manage to eat some dietary elements in the right amounts. For example, intake of vegetables was optimal in central Asia, as was seafood omega-3 fatty acids intake in the high-income Asia Pacific, and legume intake in the Caribbean, tropical Latin America, South Asia, western sub-Saharan Africa, and eastern sub-Saharan Africa.

The study estimates that one in five deaths globally, equivalent to 11 million death, are associated with poor diet, and diet contributes to a range of chronic diseases in people around the world.

In 2017, more deaths were caused by diets with too low amounts of foods, such as whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds than by diets with high levels of foods, like trans fats, sugary drinks, and high levels of red and processed meats.

On average, the world only ate 12% of the recommended amount of nuts and seeds, (around 3g average intake per day, compared with 21g recommended per day), and drank around ten times the recommended amount of sugar-sweetened beverages (49g average intake, compared with 3g recommended).

Low intake of whole grains, below 125 grammes per day, was the leading dietary risk factor for death and disease in India, the US, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Russia, Egypt, Germany, Iran, and Turkey. In Bangladesh, low intake of fruits, below 250 grammes per day was the leading dietary risk.

In 2017, the countries with the lowest rates of diet-related deaths were Israel, France, Spain, Japan, and Andorra. India ranked 118th with 310 deaths per 100,000 people.

The UK ranked 23rd (127 deaths per 100,000), and the US ranked 43rd (171 deaths per 100,000), after Rwanda and Nigeria (41st and 42nd). China ranked 140th, with 350 deaths per 100,000 people, researchers said in a statement.

The findings highlight the urgent need for coordinated global efforts to improve diet, through collaboration with various sections of the food system and policies that drive balanced diets.

"This study affirms what many have thought for several years -- that poor diet is responsible for more deaths than any other risk factor in the world," said Christopher Murray, at University of Washington in the US.

"While sodium, sugar, and fat have been the focus of policy debates over the past two decades, our assessment suggests the leading dietary risk factors are a high intake of sodium, or low intake of healthy foods, such as whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds, and vegetables," he added.

Overall in 2017, an estimated 11 million deaths were attributable to poor diet. Diets high in sodium, low in whole grains, and low in fruit together accounted for more than half of all diet-related deaths globally in 2017.

The causes of these deaths included 10 million deaths from cardiovascular disease, 913,000 cancer deaths, and almost 339,000 deaths from type 2 diabetes. Deaths related to diet have increased from 8 million in 1990, largely due to increases in the population and population ageing.