(HealthDay News) — Nearly half of all deaths from heart disease, stroke, and diabetes in the United States are associated with diets that lack certain foods and nutrients, such as vegetables, and exceed optimal levels of others, like salt, according to a study published in the March 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The researchers used data from multiple national sources to examine deaths from cardiometabolic diseases — heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes — in 2012, and the role that diet may have played.
Too much salt in people’s diets was the leading factor, accounting for 9.5 percent of cardiometabolic deaths, according to the researchers. Other key factors in cardiometabolic death included low intake of nuts and seeds, seafood omega-3 fats, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and high intake of processed meats and sugar-sweetened beverages. Each of these factors accounted for between 6 and 9 percent of deaths from heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Low consumption of polyunsaturated fats accounted for 2.3 percent of cardiometabolic deaths. High consumption of unprocessed red meats was responsible for 0.4 percent of these deaths.
The study also found that poor diet was associated with a larger proportion of deaths at younger versus older ages, among people with lower versus higher levels of education, and among minorities versus whites.