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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Deaths by Malnourishment, or Lack thereof




This Thanksgiving weekend, an estimated 46 million turkeys were consumed by Americans on thursday alone, adding up to about 340 million pounds of turkey being ingested (according to the University of Illinois. With this in mind, I figured I would talk about world heath issues, specifically relating food. Now, when most people (or at least myself) think of global deaths because issues relating to food, they tend to imagine malnourishment and starvation in third world countries. However, a semi-recent study on the issue may reverse this popular belief.

According to the Global Burden of Disease published in The Lancet, overeating and obesity now pose a more significant threat to all populus worldwide, with the exception of sub-Saharan Africa, then malnourishment and starvation. The study self proclaimed as "the largest ever systematic effort to describe the global distribution and causes of a wide array of major diseases, injuries, and health risk factors" is critically acclaimed by large health activists, including the WHO. While the numbers of those who have died due to malnourishment are not disputed, the number of deaths that can be directly linked to overeating are; with upper estimates placing the deaths from overeating to malnourishment at 3:1.

Now, for me, personally, these statistics were astonishing. To further fuel this astonishment, the Global Burden of Disease (in the same study, but a different article) also points out while life expectancy steadily increases, so does the the amount of time people spend either sick or injured. 

The GBD also does us the service of visualizing most all health problems affecting the the world, where you can adjust the variables and see the information first hand, the links are here and here.

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