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QUICK FACTS on unhealthy diet

  • High dietary intakes of saturated fat, trans-fats and salt, and low intake of fruits, vegetables and fish are linked to cardiovascular risk.
  • Approximately 16 million (1.0 per cent) DALYs and 1.7 million (2.8 per cent) of deaths worldwide are attributable to low fruit and vegetable consumption.
  • The amount of dietary salt consumed is an important determinant of blood pressure levels and overall cardiovascular risk and the WHO recommends a population salt intake of less than 5 grams/person/day to help the prevention of CVD.
  • Frequent consumption of high-energy foods, such as processed foods that are high in fats and sugars, promotes obesity compared to low-energy foods.
  • High consumption of saturated fats and trans-fatty acids is linked to heart disease; elimination of trans-fat and replacement of saturated with polyunsaturated vegetable oils lowers coronary heart disease risk.
  • Adequate consumption of fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of CVD.
  • A healthy diet can contribute to a healthy body weight, a desirable lipid profile and a desirable blood pressure.
  • It is estimated that decreasing dietary salt intake from the current global levels of 9–12 grams/day to the recommended level of 5 grams/day would have a major impact on blood pressure and CVD.

* DALY- disability-adjusted life year is a measure of overall disease burden expressed as the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death.

Global Atlas on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Control. Mendis S, Puska P, Norrving B editors. World Health Organization (in collaboration with the World Heart Federation and World Stroke Organization), Geneva 2011. 


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