Despite advances in both awareness and medical science, people of the world are behaving badly and engaging in risky activities. So much so, in fact, that the rate of deaths related to avoidable health risks has increased by 23% since 1990.
According to a recent study, more people are dying from preventable causes such as high blood pressure and smoking than ever before.
Scientists reached the conclusion that a range of 79 various health dangers led to 30.8 million deaths in 2013. This is a stark increase of more than 5.7 million deaths from 1990, and that even takes population growth and ageing into consideration.
The study’s coauthor at the University of Washington, Ali Mokdad, said “To put it in plain English, we are behaving badly. I mean we know very well that smoking kills and that blood pressure is another killer. Nobody risks not changing the oil in their car, but nobody pays the same attention to their own body.”
High blood pressure was the leading cause of preventable deaths, with 10.4 million deaths in 2013. Smoking was good for second place, and obesity was the third leading cause of death. High blood sugar levels and heavy sodium intake rounded out the top five.
Diet choices were found to be a big reason as to why more people are dying in such a manner. The study discovered that diets high in red meat and sugary drinks while being low in fruits and vegetables represented 21% of deaths in 2013.
Meanwhile, malnutrition in children and dirty drinking water were no longer in the top 10 most lethal risks. That being said, having a lack of food still resulted in 1.3 million deaths of children, and it was the leading cause of mortality for children under the age of five. Sub-Saharan African countries such as Chad, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia were particularly plagued by this issue. For poorer countries, childhood malnutrition remains a major concern.
Gender was also found to play a role in an individual’s likely cause of death. Smoking was discovered to the second most likely preventable death in males, with 4.4 million deaths in 2013. However, the number for females was roughly two-thirds lower.
Alcohol was a top ten risk for men, but this was not the case for women. Consuming foods high in salt content was found to be a greater concern for females than it was for males.
Causes of death also varied by region. The Middle East and Latin America struggled with obesity. India had problems with unclean water and childhood hunger. Russia showed concerns with alcoholism. Wealthier countries such as Great Britain often featured a smoking epidemic. Africa had an array of issues including childhood malnutrition, dirty water, unprotected sexual intercourse, and alcohol.