Risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease in young people ages 18-45 have increased significantly in the last two decades, despite a decline among older populations during the same time period, says a new study published in the journal Nature Reviews Cardiology.
These younger generations have consistently engaged in less physical activity, and have higher rates of substance abuse than previous generations. But one of the leading causes is the prevalence of chronically poor dietary habits that contribute to the early onset of type-2 diabetes and obesity, two leading factors for heart disease.
“The authors found strong links between unhealthful diets, including consumption of processed meats, and increased risk for stroke, high cholesterol, and cardiometabolic death”, notes the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine. “These observations suggest an approaching epidemic as these individuals age.”
While a growing number of millennials are driving the growth of healthy and plant-based food trends, there’s still an alarming number of young people – many of whom are now raising a new generation as well – with poor understanding and access to healthful plant-based foods.
Even the official USDA nutritional guidelines (MyPlate) recommends a diet predominantly based on fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins like legumes – which helps to promote a healthy heart and reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity.
A study published earlier this year found preventable cardiovascular disease causes one-third of the deaths around the world.