For the first time in history, a study shows that the number of years of healthy living lost because of eating too much is higher than the number of years lost by people who do not eat enough food, according to NewScientist.
Over 500 scientists in 50 countries contributed to The Global Burden of Disease report.
“The Global Burden of Disease 2010 is the most comprehensive assessment of human health in the history of medicine,” Richard Horton said. Horton is the editor of The Lancet, in which the report will be published. “It provides insights into human health that are comparable in scope and depth to the sequencing of the human genome.”
Data analyzed disease and causes of death worldwide in 2010 and compared the data to what was collected in 1990 so trends could be determined.
This is the first time that being overweight is a bigger problem than a lack of nutrition on a worldwide basis. The leading cuase of disease burden in 1990 was under-nutrition. In 1990, a high body-mass index ranked 10th in the world. Under-nutrition has dropped to eighth place on the list as BMI rose to the sixth leading cause of disease burden.
“A greater amount of disease burden has occurred because people are fat and have too much to eat, as opposed to having too little to eat,” Alan Lopez said. Lopez is a member of the study from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.
An overweight person can see his or her blood pressure increase, which can cause heart disease and stroke. Both of these conditions account for one-quarter of all deaths.
People are beginning to live longer despite being overweight, according to the study. In the Maldives, an increase in life expectancy of 30 years has been seen since the 1970s as one example.
“There has been a lot of progress,” Majid Ezzati said. Ezzati is from Imperial College London. “These are countries that have implemented programs in large regions and nationwide to get interventions to the people that really need them.”
Since 1990, the rate of death for children under the age of five has dropped by 60 percent. Across the globe, deaths from infectious diseases have dropped despite high numbers in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The large burden [of disease] related to disability was a surprise,” Christopher Murray said. Murray is from the University of Washington in Seattle. “There’s been a focus on mortality, but there’s a huge volume [of disease burden] related to things that don’t really kill you.”