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Medicine Earth Science

Poor Diet Is a Factor In One In Five Deaths, Global Disease Study Reveals (theguardian.com) 110

schwit1 shares a report from The Guardian: Millions of people are eating the wrong sorts of food for good health. Eating a diet that is low in whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds and fish oils and high in salt raises the risk of an early death, according to the huge and ongoing study Global Burden of Disease. The study, based at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, compiles data from every country in the world and makes informed estimates where there are gaps. Five papers on life expectancy and the causes and risk factors of death and ill health have been published by the Lancet medical journal. Diet is the second highest risk factor for early death after smoking. Other high risks are high blood glucose which can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, high body mass index (BMI) which is a measure of obesity, and high total cholesterol. All of these can be related to eating the wrong foods, although there are also other causes.
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Poor Diet Is a Factor In One In Five Deaths, Global Disease Study Reveals

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  • did it really take a study and five papers to tell us that eating garbage food is bad for us?

    • by nawcom ( 941663 )
      With the cultural ignorance regarding what eating loads of junk food does to the body and the "healthy at any size/fat is beautiful" movement that the internet helped spread, it'll probably take a lot more than this to convince people otherwise.
    • The real question should be, why do Western nations keep encouraging and supporting third world reproduction, especially in regions where there aren't enough resources to support even a small fraction of the current population?

      Look at what's happening in Nigeria [wikipedia.org]:

      According to the United Nations, Nigeria has been undergoing explosive population growth and has one of the highest growth and fertility rates in the world. By their projections, Nigeria is one of eight countries expected to account collectively for

      • by antek9 ( 305362 )
        Dear Sirs, I am Nigerian Prince Enoma and I have proposition to make to you. In order to keep Nigerian populace from starving I will transfer US $ 2 billion onto your account, which must then be forwarded to food supply union of your country. You will, and I promise you this, Sir, keep the change of 2 million, which will make you and your family not starving but very fat as well, because your country food very good for becoming fat. Please await further details in next mail, please SIR!
        • Third world reproductive rates collapse the moment you give them a pension and educate the women and provide access to contraception. Oh and have a word with religions which use weight of population to defeat other religions.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      did it really take a study and five papers to tell us that eating garbage food is bad for us?

      No, but the study doesn't tell us that bad diet is bad; it quantifies how bad it is and ranks it against other risk factors.

      • Posting to undo an accidental bad mod.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        > No, but the study doesn't tell us that bad diet is bad; it quantifies how bad it is and ranks it against other risk factors.

        It's still pretty much useless information.

        It's like peddling global warming armageddon in order to discourage wasteful expensive over consumption or shitting where you live. You shouldn't really need a hysterical adrenaline overload media narrative to prompt you to clean up after yourself when your Earth Day celebration is over.

    • I learned the opposite from this. Apparently I can enjoy a diet of all sweets and there's an 80% chance it won't even be a contributing factory to my death, let alone a direct cause. Sounds more like a 90%+ chance that it won't make a real difference to my longevity. That's damned good odds.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        Like everything else, it's all a matter of degree. Everything in moderation while avoiding any strange fads or extremes.

        It's almost something like I learned in school before the "Food Pyramid" was around. ;-ppppp

    • I think it would be safe to say that ANY diet is a factor in 100% of deaths. Face it, no matter what you eat or in what quantities, you're going to die. In this case, eat garbage and you'll just have problems sooner. Which means that really, all diet really affects is quality of life and time (until your inevitable death...).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If folks want to eat, drink & smoke unhealthy stuff that cuts short their life well it is not exactly a secret about the affects so live how ya like , fine by me. However, if this unhealthy behavior requires extra public funding and burdens unnecessarily health costs by requiring higher premiums from folks with healthy eating, moderate/ no drinking as well as no smoking then they can form their own insurance pools and participate as they like.

    Public sharing of insurance for largely uncontrollable fact

  • Woo! (Score:4, Funny)

    by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Saturday September 16, 2017 @09:55AM (#55209369)
    So I can eat food that tastes good all my life and I only have a one in five chance of it being a factor? Here's the rolling the dice!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you're one of the pizza-seven-days-a-week crowd, this story is aimed directly at you. Yet will any of you read it? Much less act on it?

    I'm always amazed at how people will trade away their health for junk food.

    • I will just plug vegetables here. The average Westerner eats between 10 and 20 grams of dietary fiber a day. Most heath authorities have revised up the minimum healthy intake from around 20 to 30+ grams a day as a result of research into the human microbiome. Basically your lower bowel is being starved of the material that feeds the bugs and which make the short chain fatty acids that feed the bowel walls. This is a bad move as the disbiosis and damaged bowel wall is now being associated with just about eve

  • Nature is confused (Score:5, Insightful)

    by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Saturday September 16, 2017 @10:18AM (#55209455)
    3.1 billion years of evolution went by with the vast majority of our ancestors endlessly starving. Most of our ancestors time was spent trying to gather what meager food they could, often dying of hunger when slightly injured, sick, old or just unlucky. Now all of a sudden nearly all humans have endless amounts of cheap, effortless, concentrated food available 24-7-365.25. Now the problem is food is just too damn easy to eat - I'll take that over dying of starvation any day.
    • We live in a progressive society where just because things are better than yesterday is meaningless. We don't measure ourselves by how far we've come, we measure ourselves by how far we have to go. And we've got a long, long way to go before we can consider ourselves a just, fair society. Much more criticism is necessary before we can get there, and none of us reading this will ever see the day arrive. You're not going to get away with pulling this "we're better than Somalia" crap.
    • None of that is suffiicent excuse to eat a pound of bacon every day, or to guzzle flavored sugar water (sodapop) every day, or to in general stuff your face with food until your stomach is bloated every day, either. It's also not an excuse for food companies to produce things that are stuffed with whatever will hook people on eating or drinking it, regardless of how unhealthy those ingredients are, just so they can make the most profit possible, either. Everyone should keep track of what they're eating, wei
    • Eating to death vs starving to death.

      If only there was some middle ground. .... Oh well. Here's to heart disease!

  • All you have to do is make clear that it will cost more to eat foods with poor nutrition. Right now we are subsidizing corn and thus high-fructose corn syrup, so it's put into everything. The problem is that cost of healthcare is decoupled from things that impair your health. A simple behavioral correction would be to provide universal health care and add a health care tax (must show on receipt) to things that are statistically correlated with health care costs.

    What this means is that if there is an X% c

    • What this means is that if there is an X% chance of getting cancer after smoking Y cigarettes, you can take the average cost to treat lung cancer, divide it up and tack that cost onto the price of cigarettes.

      THIS! I have always said they need to figure out the annual cost to the healthcare system of cancers caused by cigarettes and then levy that amount of tax against cigarette companies every year to offset the cost. That way smokers pay for smoker deaths, rather than the rest of the population subsidizing it. It would mean lower healthcare costs for people who live cleaner lives and higher for those who don't.

  • At a grocery scoring company. It soon emerged that the score would plummet on say broccoli the moment you add sugar, salt or fat.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I grew up in the 1950's and 1960's. (Lawn, etc). There were very few obese people. All though pre-university schooling I remember only one kid who was overweight. Adults were also thin, and that formed my mental image of what a normal sized person is. You did not see "mobility scooters" for weight- only wheelchairs for disabilities such as paraplegics.

    Tody, I am still "normal" size (in my 60's), and the world has ballooned around me. I see obese children, even young ones 5-6 years old. Most adults l

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I've often wondered about that. Watching movies from the '50s through the '70s, people seemed tiny. NASA footage showing what appears to be middle-aged men with 28 inch waists.

    • by dwpro ( 520418 )
      that mirrors up pretty well with the data. Note the obesity #'s specifically:

      https://stateofobesity.org/ima... [stateofobesity.org]
  • by pubwvj ( 1045960 ) on Saturday September 16, 2017 @11:37AM (#55209775)

    "high body mass index (BMI)"

    High BMI is a red herring. BMI is based on a sedentary lifestyle like office workers have. Those of us who are in physically demanding jobs very often have high BMIs without being obese because we have more muscle, denser bones and lower body fat levels. My son and I farm and do butchery. we have very high BMIs but it is muscle that is necessary for our work. Same goes for athletes who tend to score high on the BMI but again it is muscle, not fat. The BMI system needs to be redone to account for the fact that not everyone is a sedentary office worker. Our life insurance company takes this into account - they do a measure of hips, belly and chest which corrects for the errors on BMI.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      BMI is extremely reliable for over 90% of the population.

      Before rationalizing your "high muscular development" as an excuse for a high BMI, check your Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR).

      You might also peek in a mirror without holding your breath.
      If you see a muffin top or some Dunlap's disease, then you are a fatty.

      Maybe it's not your bones that are dense. Have some more chips and wash them down with another beer. You only live once.

      • by pubwvj ( 1045960 )

        "BMI is extremely reliable for over 90% of the population."

        That is a very sad statistic since BMI is such an unreliable indicator for people who are active. What that mean is that 90% of the population is sedentary. Very sad.

        "Before rationalizing your "high muscular development" as an excuse for a high BMI, check your Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR)."

        So you apparently didn't actually read my comment but instead you just reacted with your own little inner voice. How troll like. Go back and read what I wrote.

        "You mi

    • That's all good and fine, but you and your son are generally outliers. People like you who are fit, active, and muscly aren't the ones who are even looking to government messages about BMI or getting active, or losing weight.

      Health messages are targeted at the unhealthy. For those people BMI is far from a red herring.

      Our life insurance company takes this into account

      That's because they aren't targeting messages at people who are fat, unhealthy and need to move their fat arses more. They are in the business of accurate predictions which involve health analy

    • by blindseer ( 891256 ) <blindseer@earthl ... t minus math_god> on Sunday September 17, 2017 @01:31AM (#55212727)

      High BMI is a red herring

      No, it's an indicator. It's a means to determining if there is a need for further investigation of health problems. People with a high or low BMI will likely need an additional check for body fat. There are a number of means to double check this, buoyancy, skin pinch, waist to hip ratio, likely more.

      I don't believe that BMI needs to be redone, just that it needs to be taken with the knowledge that it is an incomplete indicator of health. As you stated for your life insurance the BMI was taken along with waist, hip, and chest measurements. That's likely to cover all but the rarest of cases as an indicator of health.

      I believe the BMI has been a victim of it's own success. It works well so often to indicate that a person is over or under healthy weight that people have put more faith in it than it deserves. I guess that it's pretty rare for people to have a "bad" BMI and good health, neglecting other indicators of good health. Just like it is possible but rare for people to have a "good" BMI and poor health, neglecting other indicators of poor health.

      From what I understand the combination of BMI with waist to hip ratios covers probably an additional 9% on top of the 90% that BMI alone does not cover. The last 1% will just have to get a note from a physician on their health and life insurance policies.

  • Over the years, I've gotten plenty of diet advice on Slashdot that would kill me sooner rather than later. Here are the top three diets.

    • 1) Super-sized Me Diet — Eat at McDonald's three times a day.
    • 2) Snickers Diet — Eat two Snickers twice a day.
    • 3) Egg Me On Diet — Eat two dozen eggs per week.
  • poor girl is sad and hungry speaks:
    "he said they had fried chicken for supper, I peeked in the tent whilst they were eating and they had fried dough just like everybody else"
  • Honestly, junk food tastes great, and people who eat lots of it and die in their 50s or 60s from heart disease or diabetes are doing society a great favour. It's those who insist on lingering on into their 90s and beyond, in care homes or with dementia, that are a real economic drain. Better still, smoke and drink. Die young having contributed plenty in taxes. They are the real heroes.
  • We have looked a lot at investment options in food and obesity. We did make a recent investment in a novel company (Gila) that has some promise on tackling diet. Long way to go though.... https://www.iselectfund.com/gi... [iselectfund.com]
  • ... if everyone ate better, 20% of the population wouldn't die? o_O

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.