According to a research published in The Independent, unhealthy eating has been named as the most common cause of premature death around the globe.
A poor diet – which involves eating too few vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains and too much red meat, salt and sugar – was shown to be a bigger killer than smoking and alcohol.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in the US has found that high blood pressure, to which diet, exercise and obesity are key factors, is the biggest cause of premature death in countries across the world.
And unhealthy eating overall, characterised by high consumption of red meat and sugar-sweetened beverages, contributed to more deaths than any other factor – because they contribute towards ischemic heart disease, strokes and diabetes.
The study was the most recent update on the 2010 report on the Global Burden of Disease, considered the most authoritative work on the causes of ill-health.
“There’s great potential to improve health by avoiding certain risks like smoking and poor diet as well as tackling environmental risks like air pollution,” IHME director Dr Christopher Murray told The Guardian. “The challenge for policymakers will be to use what we know to guide prevention efforts and health policies.”
Data from 108 countries from 1990 to 2013 was used in the study, and the number of risk factors in premature deaths was increased from 67 to 79, to provide a broader study.
It is highlighted that premature death due to smoking remains a number one cause in high-income countries. While air pollution is a serious problem in India and elsewhere in south and south-east Asia.