Bad Diet a Factor in 20% of All Deaths

'It is amongst the really big problems in the world'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2017 6:06 PM CDT
Eating Poorly a Factor in 1 in Every 5 Deaths Worldwide
Newly released study results found diet is a factor in one out of every five deaths worldwide.   (Getty Images/amandagrand)

Everyone dies, and frequently it's what we eat (or don't eat) that's killing us. The Guardian reports the newest results from the massive, ongoing Global Burden of Disease study show diet is a factor in one of every five deaths around the world. That means millions of people are consuming too much salt and sugar and not enough whole grains, fruits, seeds, nuts, and fish oils. “It is amongst the really big problems in the world," says Dr. Christopher Murray, the head of the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

But malnutrition can be an even bigger problem than eating too many burgers, Fortune reports. And in many cases unhealthy diets have their root in economics. “Take fruit," Murray tells the Guardian. "It has lots of health benefits, but only very wealthy people eat a lot of fruit, with some exceptions.” In addition to diet, other leading risk factors in worldwide deaths are smoking and high blood pressure. But it's not all bad news. The Global Burden of Disease study found global life expectancy increased to 75.3 years for women and 69.8 years for men in 2016. And deaths from infectious disease are dropping. The study published its first results 20 years ago, Discover reports. (More diet stories.)

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