The country where most people die because of an unhealthy diet

Desiree Burns
April 6, 2019

"Poor diet is responsible for more deaths than any other risk factor in the world", he said.

"Diet quality matters no matter what weight you are", Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, told the BBC about the report.

The vast majority of diet-related deaths were due to heart disease, followed by cancers and Type 2 diabetes.

Israel, France, Spain, and Japan were among the countries with the lowest rates of diet-related disease.

Poor diets claimed the lives of around 11 million people globally in 2017 alone, the results showed.

Overall, poor diet is behind 16-percent of adult DALYs around the world.

"At the regional level, in 2017, the intake of all healthy foods was lower than the optimal level in all 21 ... regions,"the study said, though some regions did appear to strike the right balance for a few dietary factors". Diets that contained large amounts of red meat, processed foods and sweetened drinks were also found to be the worst. Cutting down on foods high in salt, sugar, saturated fat and calories will also lower the risk of becoming obese and help prevent high cholesterol and blood pressure and type 2 diabetes; all known risk factors for heart and circulatory disease.

In comparison, smoking tobacco was associated with eight million deaths.

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'We are what we eat and risks affect people across a range of demographics - including age, gender and economic status'.

"Low intake of healthy foods and high intake of unhealthy foods is the leading cause of mortality, globally and in many countries".

He added: "We are highlighting the importance of low consumption of healthy foods as compared to the greater consumption of unhealthy foods". As the Trump administration and US lawmakers debate whether able-bodied people who don't work should be entitled to public food assistance, it's clear that many people around the globe struggle to afford healthy foods.

On average, the global population only ate 12 percent of the recommended amount of nuts and seeds - around 3g average intake per day, compared with 21g recommended per day.

The global diet also included less than a quarter of the recommended amount of whole grains - at 29 g average intake a day compared with the recommended 125 g - and nearly double the recommended amount of processed meat - at around 4 g average intake per day compared with the 2 g recommended.

But just how does food impact on a country-by-country basis across the globe?

Mexico ranked 11th, the U.S. 43rd and China 140th.

These latest findings reinforce 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.

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