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Diets Haven’t Improved Much Worldwide; U.S. Near Bottom of List

By Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 19, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Despite everything folks have learned all about good nutrition, folks all over the world aren’t eating more healthy than these were three decades ago, a fresh global review has concluded.

Diets remain closer to an unhealthy score of zero — with plenty of sugar and processed meats — than they’re to a score of 100 representing plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and wholegrains, Tufts University researchers report.

“Intake of legumes/nuts and non-starchy vegetables increased as time passes, but overall improvements in dietary quality were offset by increased intake of unhealthy components such as for example red/processed meat, sugar-sweetened beverages and sodium,” said lead author Victoria Miller. She’s a postdoctoral scholar at Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston.

For the analysis, researchers measured eating patterns among adults and children across 185 countries, predicated on data gathered from a lot more than 1,100 diet surveys.

The world’s overall dietary score is just about 40.3, representing a little but meaningful 1.5-point gain between 1990 and 2018, researchers found.

But scores varied widely between regions, with averages ranging as low at 30.3 in Latin America and the Caribbean to as high as 45.7 in South Asia.

Only 10 countries, representing significantly less than 1% of the world’s population, had diet scores over 50.

Nations with the best diet scores included Vietnam, Iran, Indonesia and India, as the lowest scoring countries included Brazil, Mexico, america and Egypt.

Women were more prone to eat healthier than men, researchers found, and the elderly way more than younger adults.

“Healthy eating was also influenced by socioeconomic factors, including education level and urbanicity,” Miller said in a university news release. “Globally and generally in most regions, more educated adults and children with an increase of educated parents generally had higher overall dietary quality.”

Poor diets have the effect of greater than a quarter of most preventable deaths worldwide, the researchers said in background notes.

Countries may use this data to steer policies that promote healthy eating, said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and dean for policy at the Friedman School.


“We discovered that both too little well balanced meals and way too many processed foods were adding to global challenges in achieving recommended dietary quality,” he said in the release. “This shows that policies that incentivize and reward much healthier foods, such as for example in healthcare, employer wellness programs, government nutrition programs, and agricultural policies, could have a substantial effect on improving nutrition in the usa and all over the world.”

The findings were published Sept. 19 in the journal Nature Food.

More info

THE PLANET Health Organization has more in regards to a nutritious diet.

SOURCE: Tufts University, news release, Sept. 19, 2022

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