Report compares dietary fat intake among countries

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Harvard School of Public Health researchers and colleagues have compiled the first global data on dietary intakes of specific fats worldwide. The report compares the intake of saturated fatcholesteroltrans fatsomega 3s, and other fats and oils among 187 countries.

The report, written on behalf of the Global Burden of Diseases Nutrition and Chronic Diseases Expert Group, was published online April 15, 2014 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Poor diet is believed to be the single leading modifiable cause of poor health in the world. By 2020, it likely will contribute to about 75% of all deaths from such chronic diseases as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cancer.

The analysis of dietary assessments across the world provides estimates of the global consumption of major dietary fats and oils by region, country, age, and sex. The study was led by Renata Micha, research associate in the Department of Epidemiology at HSPH and research director, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Agricultural University of Athens, Greece, and senior author Dariush Mozaffarian, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at HSPH.

Among the findings:

  • Between 1990 and 2010, global saturated fat, dietary cholesterol, and trans fat intakes remained stable, while omega 6, seafood omega 3, and plant omega 3 fat intakes each increased.