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11 Million Deaths Attributable to Poor Diet in 2017

Leading dietary risk factors for deaths, DALYs include high sodium intake, low intake of whole grains

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THURSDAY, April 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Suboptimal diet is associated with increased mortality and morbidity from noncommunicable diseases, according to a study published online April 2 in The Lancet.

Ashkan Afshin, M.D., from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle, and colleagues used a comparative risk assessment approach to estimate the proportion of disease-specific burden attributable to each dietary risk factor among adults aged 25 years or older across 195 countries. The number of deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) attributable to diet were examined for each disease outcome.

The researchers found that 11 million deaths and 255 million DALYs were attributable to dietary risk factors in 2017. The leading dietary risk factors for deaths and DALYs globally and in many countries were high intake of sodium (3 million deaths; 70 million DALYs), low intake of whole grains (3 million deaths; 82 million DALYs), and low intake of fruits (2 million deaths; 65 million DALYs).

"This finding highlights the urgent need for coordinated global efforts to improve the quality of human diet," the authors write. "Given the complexity of dietary behaviors and the wide range of influences on diet, improving diet requires active collaboration of a variety of actors throughout the food system, along with policies targeting multiple sectors of the food system."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and nutrition industries.

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