Not too long ago it was a lack of food and clean water that was most likely to shorten lives across the globe, today it is eating too much that leads to more avoidable deaths.
The Lancet, a UK medical journal, last week took a deep dive into data on what kills people and makes them sick around the world. It looked at how health risks changed in 188 countries between 1990 and 2013.
The study showed that as average incomes have risen around the world, fewer people are starving but more are being killed by sedentary lifestyles and consuming too much food and alcohol.
"Since 1990, there has been a profound change in risk factors," the report said. "In 1990, child and maternal malnutrition and unsafe water, sanitation, and hand washing were the leading risks … but now these have been replaced by dietary risks and high systolic blood pressure."
Of the 2013 deaths, 10.4 million were from high blood pressure, 4.4 million were people with high body mass indexes and 3.2 million from alcohol and drug use. Diabetes, unsafe sex and low physical activity related deaths were also up sharply.
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