Objectives: To quantify cardiovascular disease and diabetes deaths attributable to dietary and metabolic risks by country, age, sex, and time in South Asian countries.
Methods: We used the 2010 Global Burden of Disease national surveys to characterize risk factor levels by age and sex. We derived etiological effects of risk factors-disease endpoints, by age, from meta-analyses. We defined optimal levels. We combined these inputs with cause-specific mortality rates to compute population-attributable fractions as a percentage of total cardiometabolic deaths.
Results: Suboptimal diet was the leading cause of cardiometabolic mortality in 4 of 5 countries, with population-attributable fractions from 40.7% (95% uncertainty interval = 37.4, 44.1) in Bangladesh to 56.9% (95% uncertainty interval = 52.4, 61.5) in Pakistan. High systolic blood pressure was the second leading cause, except in Bangladesh, where it superseded suboptimal diet. This was followed in all nations by high fasting plasma glucose, low fruit intake, and low whole grain intake. Other prominent burdens were more variable, such as low intake of vegetables, low omega-3 fats, and high sodium intake in India, Nepal, and Pakistan.
Conclusions: Important similarities and differences are evident in cardiometabolic mortality burdens of modifiable dietary and metabolic risks across these countries, informing health policy and program priorities.