A 23 year study, conducted from 1990 – 2013 has concluded that poor dietary choices and high blood pressure is now the number one risk factor in for death. The findings, published in The Lancet, are unsurprising, given these two factors lead to a host of non-communicable diseases.
The study looked into 79 risk factor across 188 countries, which contributed to 31 million deaths in 2013 alone. Some of the highlights include:
- High BMI’s is the number one risk factor associated with low health profiles in the Middle East and Latin America,
- Southeast Asia, China and India has a high air pollution index, which has led to pulmonary risk factors.
- India and the sub-Saharan Africa has additional risks in childhood mortality rates due to unsanitary water conditions and childhood under-nutrition, which causes 1 in 5 deaths for children under five.
- Alcohol and alcoholism ranks as the number two risk factor in Russia.
- Higher income countries show smoking as a leading risk factor.
- Unsafe sex, which causes STD’s and HIV/AIDS, severely affected global health, contributing 94%of HIV/AIDS deaths among 15 to 19 year olds in 2013 which was largerly concentrated in South Africa.
The researchers, largely from the University of Washington, USA and University of Melbourne, Australia, hope that these data will give policy makers clearer guidelines on where to focus education and awareness efforts, among other things.