Lack Of Proper Diet, Low Consumption Of Grains Cause Hundreds of Deaths in India: Lancet Report
Poor dietary habits and food choices lead to hundreds of deaths in India every year. A new Lancet study found that globally, one in five people (equivalent to 11 million) die due to the lack of optimal amounts of food and nutrients on their plates. This was done as part of the Global Burden of Disease research.
What does the report state?
The report tracked consumption trends in 15 dietary factors from 1990 to 2017 in 195 countries. It showed that almost all regions in the world could benefit from changing their dietary patterns. The study states that one in five deaths globally is associated with a poor diet which even contributes to a range of chronic diseases in people around the world. This number is reportedly higher than the number of deaths which occur due to smoking tobacco.
The causes of the deaths included 10 million deaths from cardiovascular disease, almost 339,000 deaths from type 2 diabetes, and 913,000 cancer deaths. These kinds of deaths have increased from eight million in 1990. The increase can be attributed largely to increases in the population and population ageing.
However, it is not the intake of junk food that is causing health issues, but the lack of healthier and more nutritious food choices in the diet. The study also attributes poor dietary habits to be the reason behind the increase in certain life-threatening and non-communicable diseases like cancer, heart disease, strokes, and type 2 diabetes.
In 2017, a greater number of deaths occurred by diets with too low amounts of foods such as whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds, than by diets with high levels of foods like trans fats and sugary drinks. Intake of food grains, which was lesser than 125 gms per day contributed to dietary risk factors for death and disease in several countries like India, the US, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Russia, Egypt, Germany, Iran, and Turkey. In Bangladesh, low intake of fruits (below 250 gms a day) was the leading dietary risk. In 2017, India ranked 118th with 310 deaths per 100,000 people whereas, the countries with the lowest rates of diet-related deaths were Israel, France, Spain, Japan, and Andorra.
The Logical Indian Take
The findings of the study highlight the urgent need for global efforts to improve diet. This can be done through collaboration with various sections of the food system and policies. Christopher Murray, of University of Washington said, “While sodium, sugar, and fat have been the focus of policy debates over the past two decades, our assessment suggests the leading dietary risk factors are high intake of sodium, or low intake of healthy foods, such as whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds, and vegetables.”
All governments and policymakers must come together to combat this problem.