Researchers examined diets of about 4.5 billion adults in 187 countries, finding that intake of healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables increased between 1990 and 2010. However, an even higher increase of consumption of unhealthy foods including processed meats and sweetened drinks.
The largest increase in healthy eating occurred in high-income nations, with largest improvements in the amount of healthy foods ate and a slight decrease in unhealthy foods.
However, people in the United States and many wealthy regions such as Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand still had the lowest-quality diets in the world because consumption of unhealthy foods.
Some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, China, and India showed no improvement in diet. Other countries with low-income population though, such as Chad and Mali, and Mediterranean countries as as Turkey and Greece, had the highest scores for health foods. Older people and women tended to show the healthiest diets.
“The key focus of the paper remains the need to understand the agricultural, trade and food industry, and health policy determinants, to improve dietary patterns and nutrition in various areas, taking into account the traditional characteristics of diets worldwide,” said Carlo La Vecchia, from the University of Milan in Italy.