By Bibbi Abruzzini – September 12, 2015
Death and Longevity Lie in Your Hands – Clapway

Over the years there has been a profound change in risk factors for death, according to new research.

The study carried out by teams from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington and University of Melbourne, looked at 79 risk factors for death in 188 countries between 1990 and 2013.


Researchers found that the top factors were high blood pressure, smoking, high body mass index, and high fasting plasma glucose (problems with insulin functioning), leaving behind child and maternal malnutrition, unsafe drinking water, poor sanitation and other health risk factors.

The new risk factors contributed to almost 31 million deaths worldwide in 2013, up from 25 million deaths in 1990. Overall, poor diet had the greatest cumulative impact on health worldwide.

“There is great potential to improve health by avoiding certain risks like smoking and poor diet as well as tackling environmental risks like air pollution,” said IHME director Dr Christopher Murray.


As for the United States specifically people are losing their lives from conditions associated with high body mass index and high fasting plasma glucose. Yet smoking was the main individual risk factor associated with deaths in the U.S. in 2013.

Top risk factors for death — ranging from household air pollution in South and Southeast Asia to high body mass index in the Middle East and Latin America to unsafe water in sub-Saharan Africa, can be avoided to some extent.


Researchers told Yahoo Health that longevity lies in the hands of each and every person: from the decision-makers and business owners to the everyday consumers and parents “everybody has to be involved”.

However study author Ali Mokdad, PhD, professor of global Health at IHME added that there is no shortcut to these problems.

“As for these diseases we are talking about, it’s not like we’re able to give you a pill and say, ‘You’re done,’” he says. “We have to set realistic goals, take baby steps at times and learn to change our behaviors.”

What do you think of the top risk factors for death and what are the solutions to some of these problems?