Unhealthy diets are responsible for 11 millions preventable deaths globally per year, according to a major study conducted by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation. But the biggest problem is not the junk we eat but the nutritious food we don’t eat, say researchers, calling for a global shift in policy to promote healthy diets. The paper is the most comprehensive analysis on the health effects of diet ever conducted and it affirms that poor diet is responsible for more deaths than any other risk factor in the world. Eating and drinking better could prevent one in five deaths around the world.
The research shows the impact of unhealthy diets on our health and is a call to action to governments to introduce proper solutions to address this single leading cause of death and disability. According to the data, the consequences of poor diet affect people regardless of age, sex, and sociodemographic factors or their place of residence. This means that we are all at risk and no country can afford to neglect this. Although diets vary from one country to another, eating too few fruits and vegetables and consuming too much sodium (salt) accounted for half of all deaths and two-thirds of the years of disability attributable to diet.
Improving diets requires population-based, multi-sectoral and culturally relevant approaches.