A study published by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), back in 2010, called the Global Burden of Disease Study has been recognized as the definitive work when it comes to what causes health problems. Recently, an update to the study has shown that the number one cause of early deaths worldwide is a poor diet.
They’re calling on governments to act based on their findings
The researchers found that 21% of deaths worldwide are linked to having a diet that’s primarily red meat, sugary drinks, and a lack of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. This type of diet has also been found to directly cause heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
According to their research, the top risks for an early death in both men and women are high blood pressure, smoking, high BMI or body mass index, and high blood sugar; which, aside from smoking, are all linked to having a poor diet.
Since 1990, the mortality risk for high blood pressure has increased by 49%, and it has been affecting men more than women. These risk factors add up to a total of 30.8 million deaths in 2013, compared to 25.1 million deaths in 1990.
Pollution is also a big health risk
In addition to poor diet, environmental factors such as pollution have also been cited by the researchers as a big health risk as air pollution has been connected to the 7th highest number of deaths globally.
IHME director Dr. Christopher Murray shares, “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. The challenge for policymakers will be to use what we know to guide prevention efforts and health policies.”
Dr. Ivy Shiue, co-author of the study, adds, “Progress against so many leading risk factors is excellent news and should be celebrated, but these risks still continue to contribute to the disabilities and deaths of thousands of Britons.
“We need to focus on minimising risks clustering from childhood to adulthood, such as poor diet and low physical activity, to reduce the burden our health system and ensure that we all live long and healthy lives.”
How do you keep your family healthy?
Nowadays, it can get pretty difficult for moms and dads to keep their family healthy. There’s a lot of cheap junk food available. And what’s more, kids these days tend to stay more at home rather than play outside.
Here are a few tips to help you out when it comes to keeping your family healthy:
- Breakfast is very important. There’s a reason why breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is why you need to give your family a healthy breakfast that has fruits, whole grains, and less meat and fat.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are important to keep your family healthy. Cut back on the meat and junk food. Instead, replace them with healthy snacks such as carrot sticks, or apple slices.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Fluids are also important, but try to avoid unhealthy drinks such as soft drinks and processed juices. Water actually quenches your thirst more and is healthier for you.
- Keep your family active. Move around more. You can try jogging as a family every morning, or every weekend. It makes for a fun bonding activity and also keeps your family healthy.
- Cut back on their internet and computer time. These days, kids spend a lot of time on the internet and on the computer or their mobile devices. Try and encourage your kids to be more active. Involve them in sports or anything that gets them moving.
- Make your vacations more active. Instead of going to a relaxing beach to laze around on your vacation, you should try and have vacations that keep you active. Going on a hike, camping, or mountain biking are fun and enjoyable activities that keep your family active and healthy.
Sources: Daily Mail, The Guardian, Family Doctor
READ: The healthiest diets around the world and what they have in common