Millions of heart disease, stroke deaths linked to not eating enough fruits, vegetables: Study

Inadequate fruit and consumption may account for millions of deaths from and each year across the globe, a study has found.

The study estimated that roughly one in seven cardiovascular deaths could be attributed to not eating enough fruit and one in 12 cardiovascular deaths could be attributed to not eating enough vegetables.

Low fruit intake resulted in nearly 1.8 million cardiovascular deaths in 2010, while low intake resulted in one million deaths, researchers said.

Overall, the toll of suboptimal fruit intake was almost double that of vegetables. The impacts were most acute in countries with the lowest average intakes of fruits and vegetables.

“Fruits and vegetables are a modifiable component of diet that can impact preventable deaths globally,” said Victoria Miller, a at in the US.

“Our findings indicate the need for population-based efforts to increase fruit and consumption throughout the world,” Miller said.

Fruits and vegetables are good sources of fibre, potassium, magnesium, antioxidants and phenolics, which have been shown to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.

Fresh fruits and vegetables also improve the health and diversity of good bacteria in the digestive tract. People who eat more of these foods also are less likely to be overweight or obese, lowering their risk of

“Global priorities have traditionally focused on providing sufficient calories, vitamin supplementation and reducing additives like salt and sugar,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, from the

“These findings indicate a need to expand the focus to increasing availability and consumption of protective foods like fruits, vegetables and legumes — a positive message with tremendous potential for improving global health,” said Mozaffarian.

Based on dietary guidelines and studies of cardiovascular risk factors, the researchers defined optimal fruit intake as 300 grammes per day, equivalent to roughly two small apples. ‘

Optimal intake of vegetables, including legumes, was defined as 400 grammes per day, equivalent to about three cups of raw carrots.

The researchers estimated average national intakes of fruit and vegetables from diet surveys and representing 113 countries (about 82 per cent of the world’s population), then combined this information with data on causes of death in each country and data on the cardiovascular risk associated with inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption.

Based on data from 2010, the scientists estimated that suboptimal fruit consumption results in nearly 1.3 million deaths from and more than 520,000 deaths from worldwide each year.

Suboptimal vegetable consumption was estimated to result in about 200,000 deaths from and more than 800,000 deaths from

The impact of inadequate fruit and vegetable intake was greatest in countries with the lowest fruit and vegetable consumption.

Countries in South Asia, and had low fruit intake and high rates of associated deaths. Countries in and had low vegetable intake and high rates of associated

In the US, suboptimal vegetable intake may account for 82,000 cardiovascular deaths while suboptimal fruit intake accounted for 57,000 deaths.

is the number one cause of death in the US and worldwide.

By age group, suboptimal fruit and vegetable intake had the greatest perceived proportional impact on deaths among younger adults.

By gender, suboptimal fruit and vegetable intake had the greatest proportional impact on cardiovascular disease deaths in men, likely because women tend to eat more fruits and vegetables, Miller noted.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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