A new study has highlighted the potential value of following a balanced diet to avoid premature death.
For the study, researchers evaluated data from the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) which were collected between 1990 and 2016. They analysed the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in 51 countries in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) European region, which includes EU Member States as well as several states in the Middle East and Central Asia. Based on food consumption and other risk factors in the respective countries, the researchers calculated the percentage of deaths attributable to an unbalanced diet.
They found dietary risks were associated with 2.1 million cardiovascular deaths in the WHO European Region, accounting for 22.4 per cent of all deaths and 49.2 per cent of CVD deaths. There were significant differences between countries, with the share of diet-related CVD deaths out of total mortality ranging between 38.2 per cent in the Ukraine and 9.8 per cent in Israel. It suggested optimised dietary patterns could have prevented around 22 per cent of premature cardiovascular deaths.
Presenting the findings in the European Journal of Epidemiology, the authors suggested following a balanced diet could be “a potential key lever to avoid premature deaths”.