Amanda Davey and AAP

The Lancet lists the top 10 deadliest health risks in this order:

The number of people worldwide whose deaths were tied to avoidable health risks like high blood pressure and smoking has shot up by almost 23% since 1990, researchers say.

According to results published in The Lancet, scientists conclude that a range of 79 health dangers contributed to 30.8 million deaths in 2013, which is 5.7 million more than in 1990 even when population growth and ageing were taken into account.

“To put it in plain English, we are behaving very badly,” says study co-author, Dr Ali Mokdad, from the University of Washington.

High blood pressure was the top risk in 2013, contributing to 10.4 million deaths in the 188 countries studied.


The study shows that since 1990, the most dangerous factors have changed significantly, shifting from causes rooted in lack of basic necessities to those stemming from excess.

The single deadliest group of factors were all tied to how people eat, accounting for 21% of deaths in 2013. These include diets high in sodium (salt), trans fatty acids, sugary drinks and processed meats, and low in fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and omega-3s.

At the same time, child undernutrition and unsafe water, for example, were no longer among the top 10 deadliest risks.


Last Reviewed: 14/09/2015



GBD 2013 Risk Factors Collaborators.