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Bad habits: epidemic of the 21st century

Bad habits: epidemic of the 21st century

By Noemi Portela Prol

According to the latest estimates, of the 56 million deaths a year, 68% are due to non-communicable diseases, 8% more than in 2000.

In addition, 16 million occur among people under 70 years of age.

The pathologies included in this type of ailments are divided into four groups (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases and diabetes) and the risk of suffering them is linked to the consumption of tobacco and alcohol, eating an unhealthy diet or sedentary lifestyle.

In addition to the study, the following data is extracted: although the majority of these deaths, 75%, occurred in low- and middle-income countries, in relative numbers it is the cause of 87% of deaths in high-income countries.

Endless hours in front of the computer, the car as the most common means of transport or avoiding stairs are some of the most frequent habits in the day to day.

A recent study indicates that a sedentary lifestyle produces twice as many deaths as obesity.

Physical exercise is essential if you want to lead a healthy life and, in addition, it has many other benefits such as spending time outdoors, having fun, relaxing or socializing.

For their part, fast food chains are multiplying day by day in different cities of the world.

The stores, packed with customers, offer almost instant service and cheap prices. However, behind these advantages lies a much worse one. The food served in these places is characterized by having large amounts of calories and components that, in the long run, are harmful to our health.

The accelerated pace of life that prevails today makes it difficult to eat a healthy diet and proof of this is that in 2014 39% of the population was overweight and 13% obese.

Tobacco and alcohol are two other great enemies of health, both addictive and toxic. Although alcohol consumption is more widespread, the addiction that nicotine produces and the fact that it also affects passive smokers, makes smoking more harmful and is associated with six million deaths a year.

The WHO has created a plan to reduce 25% of these preventable deaths by 2025 and for this it proposes to reduce trans fats by replacing them with polyunsaturated, which are found in fish and nuts, and to eliminate advertisements that encourage alcohol consumption. and tobacco.

Some countries, aware of the problem, have implemented various measures such as reducing salt or more control of food components. The most significant case is that of Hungary, which, after applying a tax to unhealthy products, has not only achieved that their sales have dropped dramatically, but the food industry has been forced to replace them.

Also frequent are initiatives to reduce smoking.

Raising taxes, including messages warning about the possible harmful effects of tobacco on packs, eliminating advertisements or banning smoking in closed public spaces are some of the most common measures to combat smoking.

Measures that also have more than satisfactory results and the number of smokers has dropped considerably in the last decade.

The problem is within our reach, bacteria and the search for vaccines are not part of this game.

In a matter in which we are victims and executioners, the solution is as simple as changing habits that, however, seem too ingrained in society.


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