Suboptimal dietary habits linked to deaths from heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes

1. Over 45% of deaths due to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes in US adults in 2012 was due to suboptimal dietary consumption.

2. The largest numbers of diet-related deaths were related to high sodium intake, low nuts/seeds, and high processed meats.

Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)

Study Rundown: Dietary habits have a clear influence on risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Previous studies have looked at the association of poor dietary habits with overall cardiometabolic health or evaluated a limited number of dietary factors. This current study estimated the mortality due to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes associated with suboptimal intake of 10 dietary factors among US adults. The authors found that in 2012, over 500,000 deaths occurred due to heart disease, 120,000 due to stroke, and nearly 68,000 due to type 2 diabetes. Of these, over 45% were due to suboptimal dietary consumption. Specifically, the largest number of diet-related deaths were due to high sodium intake (9.5% of all deaths), low nuts/seeds (8.5%), high processed meats (8.2%), low seafood omega-3 fats (7.8%), low vegetables (7.6%), low fruits (7.5%), and high sugar-sweetened beverages (7.4%). Additionally, cardiometabolic deaths decreased by 26% from 2002 to 2012.

Overall, this study suggests that public health campaigns have been successful over the last 10 years in reducing deaths due to cardiometabolic disease. However, further improvements can still be made to alter dietary habits and improve health. Despite the authors’ efforts to minimize bias and maximize validity, their findings do not prove that changes in these dietary habits reduce disease risk.

Click to read the study in JAMA

Relevant Reading: Dietary and Policy Priorities for Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Obesity.

In-Depth [retrospective cohort]: This study utilized a comparative risk assessment model to estimate the numbers of deaths due to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes associated with suboptimal intake of 10 dietary factors among US adults. These 10 factors were consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, whole grains, unprocessed red meats, processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, polyunsaturated fats, seafood omega-3 fats, and sodium. Data was obtained form National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 1999-2002 and 2009-2012, and disease-specific national mortality obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics. In 2012, over 506,100 deaths occurred due to heart disease, 128,294 due to stroke, and 67,914 due to type 2 diabetes. Of these, 318,656 (CI95% 306,064-329,755, 45.4%) deaths were due to suboptimal dietary consumption. Specifically, the largest number of estimated diet-related deaths was due to high sodium intake (9.5% of all deaths), low nuts/seeds (8.5%), high processed meats (8.2%), low seafood omega-3 fats (7.8%), low vegetables (7.6%), low fruits (7.5%), and high sugar-sweetened beverages (7.4%). Additionally, cardiometabolic deaths decreased by 26.5% from 2002 to 2012.

 

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