More dangerous than COVID-19

QUICK READ: In 2017, 11 million deaths—or 22 percent—worldwide were caused by poor diet. More specifically? Of these deaths, 9.5 million were due to cardiovascular disease, over 900,000 to diet-related cancers, over 330,000 to diabetes, and over 136,000 to kidney diseases.

While the whole world is fixated on COVID-19 there is another health threat that is much bigger and is within our control to control.

study published in The Lancet found that poor diet is responsible for more than 1 in 5 deaths globally, making it more deadly than tobacco and high blood pressure. Diets high in sodium and low in whole grains and fruits had the strongest link to worldwide causes of death.

Why is this happening?

People like to try different diets or change their eating habits, but they are often overwhelmed by conflicting nutrition information in the media. It is difficult to understand what the best or healthiest nutrition habits are when numerous diets are advertised as the best way to get healthy.

People may choose microwave meals marketed as healthy instead of those with high-fat content, but the problem with frozen food is it lacks nutrition from vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients. The packages say healthy, yet the food is not because it is processed and has added ingredients that virtually cancel out the healthy aspects of the meal. It is confusing and complicated, which makes you want to stick with what you know instead of changing.

56% of Americans surveyed said they were trying to lose weight. Yet 9 out of 10 did not know how many calories they should be consuming each day (and nearly half wouldn’t even hazard a guess). Some diets are also very unhealthy as they urge people to load up on high-fat p[rotein and skip carbs.

Insurers should mandate that obese customers meet with a registered dietitian and get exercise as recorded by a Fitbit or some other wearable or face an increase in premiums. It’s a bold move but we just don’t have the option of doing anything.

Education is also key. People have to learn that weight loss is not going to magically happen overnight and that it’s a constant way of life.