We should all eat like the citizens of Chad

The Tweet: “According to research, the citizens of Chad have the world’s healthiest diet, while the population of Armenia has the worst.”

If you live in Sub-Saharan Africa you’re likely to have one of the healthiest diets in the world. Chad, Sierra Leone and Mali make up the top 3 countries for healthy eating according to a new report, meanwhile Armenia, Hungary and Belgium are the three worst.

The research published in The Lancet in February 2015 is one of the most comprehensive studies into the eating habits of the world and scored each country on the variety of different food groups in their diets. The huge study used information from 4.5 million people in 187 countries representing 89 per cent of the world’s adult population.

Amounts of fruit, vegetables, nuts and grains were used to measure the healthy portion of each country’s diet and then compared to the amounts of saturated fats and processed meats. Each country was then ranked with a score out of 100.

The researchers saw that there has been a global increase in the amount of healthy food, but also an increase in junk food. The study found Sub-Saharan African countries had the healthiest diets worldwide, and Eastern European countries made up most of the ten worst (below).

“Diets and their trends were very heterogeneous across the world regions,” the study says. “For example… dietary patterns improved in high-income countries, but worsened in some low-income countries in Africa and Asia. Middle-income countries showed the largest improvement in dietary patterns based on healthy items, but the largest deterioration in dietary patterns based on unhealthy items.”

However, other research has show that the diversity of food sources across the world is getting smaller. We rely more heavily on the same few types of food as our diets are getting more similar. The narrowing of diversity in food sources has been considered a potential threat to food security.

“As a consequence, national food supplies globally have become increasingly similar in composition, based upon a suite of truly global crop plants,” reads the report published in 2014. “The growth in reliance worldwide on these crops heightens interdependence among countries in their food supplies, plant genetic resources, and nutritional priorities.”

The top 10 countries with the healthiest diets were:
1. Chad
2. Sierra Leone
3. Mali
4. Gambia
6. Ghana
7. Ivory Coast
8. Senegal
9. Israel
10. Somalia

The 10 countries with the least healthy diets overall were:
1. Armenia
2. Hungary
3. Belgium
4. Czech Rebublic
5. Kazakhstan
6. Belarus
7. Argentina
8. Turkmenistan
9. Mongolia
10. Slovakia

Image: ssour/ Flickr & The Untweetable Truth

This post was first published on The Untweetable Truth (03/03/2014)

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