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Overeating Bigger Problem Than Undereating, Says Report

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For the first time in world history, more years are being lost to people eating too much than not eating enough, according to one of the most far-reaching reports ever assembled.

The Global Burden of Disease report, bringing together nearly 500 researchers in 50 countries, found that while life expectancy is increasing and infectious diseases are increasingly under control, the world population is at greater risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes than ever before.

"A greater amount of disease burden has occurred because people are fat and have too much to eat, as opposed to having too little to eat," said Alan Lopez, one of the study’s authors, to New Scientist.  

The report says malnutrition was a leading cause of disease in 1990.  Now, blood pressure, tobacco, alcohol, and poor diet top the list.

The demographics of disease are changing, as well.

“Young adults are emerging as a new and neglected priority in global health,” says Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, the journal in which the findings were published. “Young adults, especially men, are dying in far higher numbers than previously appreciated.”

The study also makes several forecasts for the future of healthcare, suggesting that as more adults survive illness and injuries, countries must be equipped to support disabled populations.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio