The Global Burden of Disease Study, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is the most comprehensive and systematic analysis of causes of death undertaken to date, involving nearly 500 researchers from more than 300 institutions in 50 countries, starting out with almost 100,000 data sources.
- S S Lim, T Vos, A D Flaxman, G Danaei, K Shibuya, et al. A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Lancet. 2012 Dec 15;380(9859):2224-60.
These scientists determined that in the U.S. the #1 killer was our diet. #1 on their list of the most important dietary risks? Not eating enough fruit, responsible for an estimated 4.9 million deaths a year around the world.
- US Burden of Disease Collaborators. The state of US health, 1990-2010: burden of diseases, injuries, and risk factors. JAMA. 2013 Aug 14;310(6):591-608.
The Union of Concerned Scientists laid it out. A set of dangerous, often lethal, illnesses continues to wreak havoc in the United States.
Healthier Food, Healthier Hearts: The Surprising Numbers
Here are some of the more eye-opening findings from the report:
- Medical costs of treating heart disease and stroke were estimated at $94 billion in 2010, and this figure is projected to nearly triple by 2030.
- If Americans ate just one more serving of fruits or vegetables per day, this would save more than 30,000 lives and $5 billion in medical costs each year.
- If Americans were to follow current USDA recommendations for daily consumption of fruits and vegetables, those numbers would go up to more than 127,000 lives and $17 billion saved.
- According to methods commonly used by economists, the increased longevity that would result if Americans ate the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables is worth over $11 trillion.
- J K O’Hara. The $11 Trillion Reward: How Simple Dietary Changes Can Save Lives and Money, and How We Get There. Union of Concerned Scientists Equation Blog. Aug 2013.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans laid to waste. Yet there is a straightforward way to reduce the rates of these eminently preventable disorders, including stroke and heart disease.
The Namoe of this new standard of care is called holistically-inspired Happiness Medicine.
One antidote for individuals is easy, painless—even pleasurable: exploit the protective benefits of fruits and vegetables.
If Americans increased their consumption of fruits and veggies just to meet the dietary recommendations, that alone could save the lives of over 100,000 people every year in the United States. That’s if we just reach the minimum.