African countries lead the way for healthy diets

A global study has revealed the different dieting habits across the world, with Chad and Sierra Leone being classed as the healthiest countries, whilst Armenia, Hungary and Belgium were ranked as the least healthy.
African countries made up nine of the top ten countries for ‘healthiest diets overall’, whilst the ‘least healthy diets overall’ featured several European and former Soviet Union countries. Although high-income countries saw the largest dietary improvements over the study period (1990 – 2010), the quality of their diets were still ranked as some of the world’s worst.
Western Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia all had poor-quality diets, which the researchers explained was because of their high consumption of unhealthy foods. Although the results indicated that the richer countries actually consumed more healthy foods than poorer countries, they also consumed more unhealthy foods, which is what caused them to not feature in the top ten.
Experts are worried by the findings which indicate that unhealthy eating habits are increasing faster than healthy eating habits are, which could lead to more health problems in the future, such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, stroke and some forms of cancer.
Commenting on the findings, Dr Imamura, the research leader, said: “By 2020, projections indicate that non-communicable diseases will account for 75 per cent of all deaths. Improving diet has a crucial role to play in reducing this burden. Our findings have implications for governments and international bodies worldwide.”
The study was published in The Lancet Global Health journal, and its focus was purely on the dietary habits, not fitness and exercise regimes, of 197 countries, covering 4.5 billion adults.

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