The Preventable Causes of Death in the United States: Comparative Risk Assessment of Dietary, Lifestyle, and Metabolic Risk Factors
Danaei, Ding, Mozaffarian, Taylor, Rehm, et al., in their article discuss 12 particular modifiable dietary (high salt intake, minimal consumption of fruits and vegetables), lifestyle (tobacco smoking, physical inactivity, alcohol use), and metabolic risk factors (high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels, obesity) in the United States. The data utilized by these authors was obtained from nationally representative health surveys and disease specific mortality statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics. They utilize a method called comparative risk assessments, which helped them estimate the number of deaths that could be prevented if exposure to risk factors known to cause particular diseases were changed. From an analyze of their data they found that smoking and high blood pressure cause the largest number of preventable deaths in the United States and that many other possible modifiable risk factors cause deaths as well. They concluded that by effectively targeting well-known risk factors for particular diseases by utilizing regulations, pricing, and education could substantially decrease the rate of premature mortality in the United States.