How our diet affects our life expectancy
Researchers have now discovered that almost 20 percent of deaths worldwide are due to an unhealthy diet. High blood pressure and smoking are also among the main causes of premature death, along with poor nutrition.
In their extensive research, the scientists found that an unhealthy diet is one of the main causes of premature death in today’s society. The physicians published the numbers of deaths in connection with an unhealthy diet in the so-called Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD).
Cancer and diabetes account for nearly three-quarters of deaths worldwide
The study, which focused on 2017, found that noncommunicable diseases such as cancer and diabetes now account for nearly three-quarters of the 55.9 million deaths worldwide. However, many of these diseases are preventable. For example, high blood pressure and smoking still cause massive mortality and health problems, the authors explain.
The most common cause of death worldwide is cardiovascular disease, followed by abnormal tissue growth, including cancer, and chronic respiratory disease. Lung cancer was the most common 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, in 2017, poor nutrition accounted for more than 19 percent of all deaths worldwide and nearly 70 percent of all deaths from coronary heart disease.
Fewer and fewer deaths from infections
The latest data show an increasing decrease in deaths related to infections and birth problems and an increase in deaths from diseases such as cancer and diabetes. These results do not only refer to developing countries, they rather show a global phenomenon.
Many people are eating too unhealthily
The effect of diet on the probability of premature death is mainly due to the fact that the general diet of people has changed considerably. Most people consume far too many calories and their diet also contains too much fat and carbohydrates, experts say. In addition, people often do not exercise enough. In view of the fact that the trend is very much in the direction of obesity, it may well be that obesity will play a much greater role in the causes of premature death in the future, the researchers add. A high blood sugar level, which can lead to diabetes, was already the fourth largest risk factor for premature death.
Air pollution causes many deaths worldwide
According to the current study, almost nine percent of deaths worldwide (about 5 million) were caused by air pollution. The extent of the effects of air pollution should receive much 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 truly worrying that the proportion of deaths from conflict among children is disproportionately high, the scientists stress. The so-called opioid epidemic is also taking hold. The number of deaths from substance abuse has increased by almost 24 percent since 2007, and the number of opioid deaths has increased by 77 percent.
Antibiotic resistance is a major problem
The authors also express concerns about the release of antibiotics and the associated increase in resistance. They note that the number of deaths from extensively resistant tuberculosis has increased by 14 percent over the same period to 12,600 deaths per year. On the positive side, both deaths and mortality from HIV/AIDS have more than halved since 2007. The number of measles deaths has also fallen by 57 percent, the researchers say. The sudden infant death syndrome now claims fewer lives, with the mortality rate falling by more than 20 percent. Both the number and rate of deaths from Ebola have decreased by more than 98 percent between 2007 and 2017, the scientists report.
Total fertility rate declines
The research also looked at fertility trends and shows that the overall fertility rate continues to decline, probably a