The Telegraph’s Medical Correspondent, Stephen Adams, cites a landmark study that indicates obesity is now killing triple the number of people who die from malnutrition, claiming more than three million lives a year worldwide.
The Global Burden of Disease study, published in a special edition of The Lancet, found that with the exception of sub-Saharan Africa, eating too much is now a more serious risk to the health of populations than eating poorly.
Dr Majid Ezzati, chair of global environmental health at Imperial College London, and one of the lead authors of the report, said:
“We have gone from a world 20 years ago where people weren’t getting enough to eat to a world now where too much food and unhealthy food – even in developing countries – is making us sick.”
Despite overall global life expectancy rising by about five years in the last two decades, Adams notes people are spending more of their later years in poor health, due largely to increases in diseases linked to obesity, including type II diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Dr Christopher Murray, director of the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in the US, and another of the lead authors, said:
“We’re finding that very few people are walking around with perfect health and that, as people age, they accumulate health conditions.”
Scientists believe being obese has risen from the 10th most important risk factor for death in 1990, to the sixth. More than three million now die from having a high body mass index, an 82 per cent increase.
Dr Ezzati adds that to bring down the burden of high blood pressure, we need to regulate the salt content of food, provide easier access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and strengthen primary healthcare services.
So is it the abundance of food that is linked to obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease and cancer, or rather the global prevalence of highly refined and processed foods contaminated with GMO’s, high fructose corn syrup, chemical food additives such as food dyes, aspartame (NutraSweet), hydrolyzed protein, and monosodium glutamate (MSG)?
The biochemical companies get us sick by contaminating our food supply, and the pharmaceutical companies profit billions on the other end by treating the very diseases caused by the biochemical companies, and the chemical food additives used by global food empires.
Adams also reports high blood pressure has risen from fourth to first, and now accounts for some nine million deaths annually.
“Drinking and smoking are increasing problems too. Alcohol use rose from sixth to third and tobacco (including passive smoking) from third to second. Smoking accounted for 6.3 million deaths in 2010 and alcohol consumption 4.9 million.”
The report did note major improvements in the global health of children. There have been big falls since 1990 in deaths attributed to children being underweight, and to poor breastfeeding.
“Child mortality (deaths under five years) dropped by almost 60 per cent between 1970 and 2010, from 16.4 million a year to 6.8 million. There have also been significant falls in deaths attributed to poor water quality and sanitation.”