World Health Day 7th April 2019 has a theme of Universal Health.
Much has been written this week about the effects of our diet on our life span and as Fifty One Apparel has a focus on the menopause we already understand the importance of good food to help ease the effects many suffer at this time of life but the problem of bad eating is much more widespread.
It has been stated that the food we consume is leading to approximately 11 million people shortening their odds or their days with a poor diet being a bigger killer than smoking and the biggest contributor to this being salt in our foods.
As the theme today is UNIVERSAL health it is interesting to look at the countries which suffer the most with poor eating habits or an unbalanced diet.
According to a paper carried out “The Global Burden of Disease Study” the killer diets were labelled as below
- Too much salt = three million deaths
- Too few whole grains = three million deaths
- Too little fruit = two million deaths
Other contributors, an insufficient intake of nuts, seeds, vegetables, omega-3 from seafood and fibre were also high on this list.
Too much salt raises blood pressure and that in turn raises the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Conversely whole grains, fruit and vegetables have the opposite effect as they protect the heart and blood vessels and therefore lower the risk of heart disease.
Globally the food missing from most diets in all countries were nuts and seeds whereby the implication is that these are full of fats and so could cause weight gain.This perception over looks the fact that these are good fats and should be incorporated into our regime.
So which countries fair better ? Mediterranean countries, particularly France, Spain and Israel, have some of the lowest numbers of diet-related deaths in the world.
Countries in South East, Southern and Central Asia are at the opposite end of the spectrum.
Japan and China have contrasting fortunes reflecting their country’s population relationship with salt.
China consumes enormous amounts of salt with soy and other salty sauces being a key part of the country's cuisine but when combined with the rise in popularity of processed foods and an increased intake of salt means that China leads the ranking in diet related deaths. Japan, however, over the decades has reduced its salt intake and increased the vegetables and fruit which will explain the rising life expectancy in this country.
The UK is behind othe European countries like France, Denmark and Belgium.The biggest problem in the UK being the lack of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds being eaten which could be have a direct correlation to costs. Many in low income families see these items as an expensive addition to their weekly budget and therefore consider them unnecessary or as a luxury. Studies show that approx. 14% of deaths in UK are diet related ( 127 out of 100,000 )
Although governments have done much to raise awareness of bad eating habits, sugary drinks and high fat foods, but still more needs to be done to promote the healthy food options available to us all. There needs to be a change of focus from the negative to the positive.
Have a Healthy Day