Icelanders: junk-food junkies

A new twenty-year study shows that Iceland is the sixth highest consumer of junk food in the world. The findings of the study were published in the Lancet Global Health Journal and reported on the website of the British newspaper, the Daily Mail (see full article here).

The study shows that Armenians, Belgians and Hungarians have the most unhealthy diet while people in Chad, Sierra Leone and Mali have the healthiest. The Daily Mail article points out that people in these African nations eat mostly fruit, vegetables, nuts and wholemeal flour.

African nations are in nine of the top ten spots as regards eating healthily.

The top five of junk-food junkies are Azerbaijan, followed by Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Belgium, and Heilongjiang (China). Iceland is hot on their heels on sixth place.The United States, often known as the land of junk food, is interestingly only in ninth place.

The eating habits and diet of 197 countries, accounting for 90% of the worldwide population, were investigated. Research was first carried out in 1990, then in 2010. The researchers saw a slight improvement in diet in rich countries over that time.

They also found that people in the richest countries, such as USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and countries in Western Europe, each more unhealthy food, a trend that can be traced to a large extent back to fast-food culture.

Fumiaki Imamura, Professor at Cambridge University, who led the study, says that it gives a worrying picture of the future. “By 2020, acquired diseases are predicted to account for 75% of all deaths. Diets must change if we are to reduce the chances of this happening.”

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