Public Release: 

High number of deaths from heart disease, stroke and diabetes linked to diet

NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Media Availability: High number of deaths from heart disease, stroke and diabetes linked to diet

WHAT: Nearly half of all deaths in the United States in 2012 that were caused by cardiometabolic diseases, including heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, have been linked to substandard eating habits, according to a study published in the March 7 issue of JAMA and funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Of the 702,308 adult deaths due to cardiometabolic diseases, 318,656, or about 45 percent, were associated with inadequate consumption of certain foods and nutrients widely considered vital for healthy living, and overconsumption of other foods that are not.

The list includes foods and nutrients long-associated with influencing cardiometabolic health. The highest percentage of deaths was linked to excess consumption of sodium. Processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages and unprocessed red meats were also consumed in excess. Americans did not consume enough of some foods that have healthful effects such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, polyunsaturated fats and seafood omega-3 fats.

The study also shows that the proportion of deaths associated with diet varied across population groups. For instance, death rates were higher among men when compared to women; among blacks and Hispanics compared to whites; and among those with lower education levels, compared with their higher-educated counterparts. The authors concluded that "these results should help identify priorities, guide public health planning, and inform strategies to alter dietary habits and improve health." The study findings were based on death certificate data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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WHO: Dr. David Goff, Director, Division of Cardiovascular Sciences (DCVS), NHLBI, NIH, is available to comment on the findings and implications of this research.

ARTICLE: R Micha et al. Association Between Dietary Factors and Mortality From Heart Disease, Stroke, and Type 2 Diabetes in the United States. JAMA. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2017.0947

CONTACT: For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact the NHLBI Office of Science Policy, Engagement, Education, and Communications at 301-496-5449 or nhlbi_news@nhlbi.nih.gov

Supplemental Information

500 Cities Project

Explore neighborhood health data: The project identifies, analyzes, and reports on 27 chronic disease measures focusing on conditions, behaviors, and risk factors that have a substantial effect on people's health.

About NHLBI: Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) plans,conducts, and supports research related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis,and treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases; and sleep disorders. The Institute also administers national health education campaigns on women and heart disease, healthy weight for children, and other topics. NHLBI press releases and other materials are available online at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency,includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

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