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Unhealthy eating causes 20 percent of all deaths worldwide

Unhealthy eating causes 20 percent of all deaths worldwide


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How our diet affects our life expectancy

Researchers have now found that nearly 20 percent of deaths worldwide are due to an unhealthy diet. In addition to poor nutrition, high blood pressure and smoking are also the main causes of premature death.

In their extensive investigation, the scientists found that an unhealthy diet is one of the main reasons for premature death in today's society. The doctors published the numbers of deaths related to an unhealthy diet in the so-called Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD).

Cancer and diabetes cause almost three quarters of deaths worldwide

The study, which focused on 2017, found that noncommunicable diseases such as cancer and diabetes now account for almost three quarters of the 55.9 million deaths worldwide. However, many of these diseases can be avoided. For example, high blood pressure and smoking still cause massive mortality and health problems, the authors explain.

Worldwide, the leading cause of death is cardiovascular disease, followed by abnormal tissue growth, including cancer, and chronic respiratory disease in third place. Lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer deaths. The data show that our behavior and lifestyle pose the greatest threat to survival, with poor nutrition being the biggest risk factor, the researchers emphasize. In fact, poor nutrition worldwide accounted for more than 19 percent of all deaths and almost 70 percent of all deaths from coronary heart disease in 2017.

There are fewer and fewer deaths from infections

The latest data show an increasing decrease in deaths related to infections and problems at birth and an increase in deaths from diseases such as cancer and diabetes. These results do not only apply to developing countries, they rather show a global phenomenon.

Many people eat too unhealthily

The impact of diet on the likelihood of dying prematurely is primarily due to the fact that people's general diet has changed significantly. Most people consume far too many calories and their diet also contains too much fat and carbohydrates, the experts say. In addition, those affected often do not move enough. Given that the trend is very much toward obesity, it could well be that it will play a much larger role in the causes of premature death in the future, the researchers add. High blood sugar, which can lead to diabetes, was already the fourth largest risk factor for premature death.

Air pollution causes many deaths worldwide

Worldwide, according to the current study, almost nine percent of the deaths (around 5 million) were due to air pollution. The extent of the effects of air pollution should get a lot more attention, the researchers demand.

More and more deaths in armed conflicts

The report also shows that the number of deaths from executions and police conflicts has tripled worldwide. In addition, the number of deaths from conflict and terrorism increased by 118 percent between 2007 and 2017. It is really worrying that the proportion of deaths from conflict among children is disproportionate, the scientists emphasize. The so-called opioid epidemic is also reflected. The number of substance abuse deaths has increased by almost 24 percent since 2007 and the number of opioid deaths has increased by 77 percent.

Antibiotic resistance is a big problem

The authors also express concerns about the delivery of antibiotics and the associated increase in resistance. They find that the number of deaths from extensively resistant tuberculosis increased by 14 percent to 12,600 deaths per year in the same period. On a positive note, the number of deaths and the mortality rate from HIV / AIDS has more than halved since 2007. The number of measles deaths has also decreased by 57 percent, the researchers say. Sudden childhood death syndrome now claims less life, with the mortality rate falling by more than 20 percent. Both the number and the rate of deaths from Ebola fell by more than 98 percent between 2007 and 2017, the scientists report.

Overall fertility rate is declining

Research also looked at fertility trends and shows that overall fertility rates continue to decline, probably due to falling child mortality rates. Fertility rates are expected to continue to decline. This is also due to the fact that women today have more options when it comes to preventing pregnancy. (as)

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