21 percent deaths due to red meat and sugary drinks: Study


Since 1990, the most dangerous factors have changed significantly, shifting from causes rooted in privation to those stemming from these kinds of excess.

The single deadliest group of factors was all tied to how people eat. Diets high in red meat and sugary drinks and low in fruits and vegetables accounted for 21 percent of deaths in 2013.

At the same time, child under nutrition and unsafe water, for example, were no long among the top 10 deadliest risks.

However, a lack of sufficient food still contributed to the deaths of 1.3 million children in 2013, making it the leading cause of mortality for kids under five.

The impact was especially pronounced in countries like Chad, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.

“While we have seen a tremendous growth in risk factors that contribute to… heart disease, pulmonary diseases and diabetes, childhood under nutrition remains a huge challenge for some countries,” said the study’s lead author Mohammad Hossein.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded study found that gender and where people live accounted for significant differences in what led them to get sick or die.

Smoking was the number two danger for men, leading to 4.4 million deaths in 2013. For women the number was about a two-thirds lower.

Also, alcohol was among the top 10 risks for men, but it did not make the leading causes of death for women, who were most at risk due to diet-related problems like eating foods high in salt.

In the Middle East and Latin America high body mass index, which is the ratio between a person’s weight and height, was a leading cause of health problems.

India is struggling with unsafe water and child malnutrition. Alcohol is the number two risk in Russia and smoking is the top danger in many wealthy countries like Britain, the study said.

A toxic mix of risks is at work in sub-Saharan Africa where poor childhood nutrition, contaminated water, unsafe sex and alcohol were all leading causes of death.

“These practices are preventable and we could do something about them as individuals and communities,” said Mokdad. “These deaths should be prevented.”

News source: AFP