This will no doubt set off the usual anguished whining among the usual suspects. But we regard this as cheering news, extremely cheering in fact:
Poor diet has emerged as the biggest contributor to early death around the world, according to new analysis from the leading authorities on the global disease, with red meat and sugar-sweetened beverages among the foods implicated in 21% of global deaths.
Smoking cigarettes still carries the highest risk factor of premature death in the UK, followed by high blood pressure and obesity. But the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE) in the US says that a combination of dietary factors, from eating too few fruit and vegetables, nuts and whole grains to too much sodium and cholesterol, is taking a toll on health in the UK and across the globe.
We do rather doubt much of what we're told by these prodnoses who would control our diet. It was only last week that they were telling us that animal fats would murder us all in our beds and then after decades of saying so they've changed their minds. However, the good news is here:
Sub-Saharan Africa has a different pattern of risks from the rest of the world, with a toxic combination of childhood undernutrition, unsafe water and sanitation, unsafe sex, and alcohol use.
That is, where people are still in that absolute destitution of peasant poverty then people die from simply lack of food and sanitation. Whereas where people are not in that absolute destitution of peasant poverty they live long enough to die of something else. We regard this as an advance in human civilisation, whatever our beliefs about the accuracy of the diagnoses of those First World diseases.
For it's never going to be true that we can solve all the troubles of the world in one fell swoop: but that we do seem to be solving them, one by one, is reason for cheerfulness, no?