The Pathophysiological Role of Diet in Non-Communicable Disease Etiology

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.08.02.Art031

Authors : Nelson Sabila


Background and aims. Adherence to healthful diet has been a challenge both in the developing and developed countries due to the changes in lifestyles, access to ready junk food, resource constraints, lack of adequate knowledge, poor regulatory approaches and culture, to mention but a few, making the world population more vulnerable to non- communicable diseases (NCDs). By implication, an unhealthy diet is an important factor for disability and death relative to the increasing global NCD burden. This review updates knowledge on the role and dimension of diet and health outcomes such as; cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, diabetes, and cancer.

Methods. A Systematic review of reviews and meta-analyses on chronic health outcomes attributable to dietary patterns were studied. In total, 141 reviews and meta-analyses were searched in Google Scholar, PubMed, Medline but 41 reviews published from 2016 onwards were included in the study.

Results. Consumption of a diet rich in animal fats, excessive energy, animal proteins, posed a higher risk or death due to NCDs. Alternatively, diets comprised of vegetables, fruits, nuts, low carbohydrates, low polyunsaturated fat, seafood, legumes, nuts, less meat, fish, and whole-grain were found to be protective for most NCDs. Conclusions. Research confirms diet to be both a risk factor (unhealthful diet) and at the same time protective (healthful diet) for NCDs. However, further epidemiological studies should emphasize the assessment of Health outcomes based on the quantity, frequency, concentration, synergistic interactions of various dietary nutrients.


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