A global survey shows that diets are slightly healthier than they were 30 years ago.
Researchers at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition, Science and Policy studied the dietary habits of adults and children in 185 countries over more than 30 years. They used the Alternative Healthy Eating Index, which ranks various diets on a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 representing high consumption of sugar and processed meats, and 100 representing fruits, vegetables, legumes/nuts, and whole grains. They also used data from over 1,100 surveys from the Global Diet Database, a large collaborative compilation of data on food and nutrient consumption levels around the world.
They concluded that the global average in 2018 was 40.3, 1.5 percentage points higher than in 1990. European countries were included in the region defined as ‘high-income countries’, which also includes North America and Australia. In 2018, the average score for high-income countries was 37.8, 3.2 percentage points higher than in 1990.
Nutrient-rich options are growing in popularity in the United States, Vietnam, China, and Iran, but less so in Tanzania, Nigeria, and Japan.
Regional averages ranged from 30.3 in Latin America and the Caribbean to 45.7 in South Asia. Only 10 countries, representing less than 1% of her global population, had scores above 50. The countries with the highest scores globally are Vietnam, Iran, Indonesia and India, while the countries with the lowest scores are Brazil, Mexico, the United States and Egypt.
Women were more likely to eat the recommended diet than men, and older adults were more likely than younger adults.
Poor diet is a leading cause of disease, responsible for 26% of preventable deaths worldwide. However, researchers say little is known about differences in diet quality by demographics such as age, gender, education, and proximity to urban areas.
The researchers argued that the study was one of the most comprehensive estimates of global diet quality ever and the first to include findings in adults as well as children.
They concluded that the modest global increase highlights a global challenge to promote healthy eating.
“While legume/nut and non-starchy vegetable intake increased over time, overall improvement in diet quality was associated with lower levels of red/processed meat, sugary beverages, and unhealthy ingredients such as sodium. This was offset by increased intake.Lead author Victoria Miller of McMaster University in Canada says she’s a senior author on the paper.
“Healthy eating was also influenced by socioeconomic factors such as education level and urbanity.”she added. “Globally, and in most regions, more educated adults and children with more educated parents generally had higher overall dietary quality.na
“On average around the world, dietary quality was higher in younger children, but worsened as children got older. This is because early childhood facilitates the development of healthy eating preferences.” suggesting that it is a critical time for intervention strategies inna
Researchers believe this study will help nutrition researchers, health organizations, and policy makers to set goals and invest in behaviors that promote healthy eating, such as promoting diets comprised of produce, seafood, and more. said that it will allow us to better understand dietary intake trends that can be used to and vegetable oil.
Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian of Tufts University, who led the study, said: “We find that too little healthy food and too much unhealthy food both contribute to the global challenge in achieving recommended dietary quality. This suggests that policies that incentivize and reward healthier food, such as health care, employer health programs, government nutrition programs, and agricultural policies, will have a significant impact on improving nutrition in the United States and around the world. suggests that it is possible.na
The research team is now looking at how different aspects of poor diets directly contribute to major disease states around the world, and a variety of strategies to improve diets globally, regionally and nationally. We plan to model the effects of policies and programs.
Global diet quality for 185 countries from 1990 to 2018 shows wide variation by country, age, education and urbanizationna