Diet Quality Declines Despite Increase in Healthy Food Consumption

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JAMA

April 21, 2015, Vol 313, No. 15

Over the last 2 decades, adults around the world modestly increased their intake of healthy dietary items, but this trend was exceeded by increases in consumption of unhealthy items, according to an analysis of global dietary patterns (Imamura F et al.Lancet Glob Health. 2015;3[3]:e132-e142).

Study finds global diet quality declined, despite increased consumption of healthy foods.

 

M. J. Friedrich

Researchers evaluated hundreds of national dietary surveys from 187 countries covering 88.7% of the global adult population to compare food and nutrient intake by region, nation, age, and sex from 1990 to 2010. They evaluated trends and changes in 3 dietary patterns: consumption of 10 healthy dietary items, including fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts; consumption of 7 unhealthy dietary items, such as processed meats and sugar-sweetened beverages; and combined consumption of all 17 dietary foods and nutrients.

In high-income countries, consumption of healthier dietary items improved, while consumption of unhealthy items modestly declined. Both dietary patterns worsened over time in several low-income countries. Nonetheless, high-income countries remained among the worst overall in terms of consumption of unhealthy items. By comparison, while many low-income countries in Asia and Africa consumed fewer unhealthy items, consumption of healthy items was generally poorer. On average, older adults had better diets than younger adults, and women had better diets than men.

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