Leading Causes of Death in the US

Leading Causes of Death in the US

Go to http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm and review the leading causes of death in the US. Which of the top ten leading causes of death could be linked to diet-related diseases and nutrition behaviors (please list all)? Discuss how nutrition behaviors may lead to the development of these diseases.

Number of deaths for leading causes of death (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016):

  1. Heart disease: 614,348

  2. Cancer: 591,699

  3. Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 147,101

  4. Accidents (unintentional injuries): 136,053

  5. Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 133,103

  6. Alzheimer's disease: 93,541

  7. Diabetes: 76,488

  8. Influenza and Pneumonia: 55,227

  9. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis: 48,146

  10. Intentional self-harm (suicide): 42,773

All of these causes of death are linked to diet and nutrition behavior in some way. Heart disease is obvious. Cancer is another no brainer. Chronic lower respiratory diseases is not so obvious but it is genetic so you could say that over generations of diet and eating habits you could die from this. Accidents (unintentional injuries) is linked directly to some deaths, choking on food is a perfect example. Stroke is another common death to poor diet and poor physical activity. We know that Alzheimer's disease is reduced by good eating habits. Diabetes type II is another well-known cause of death due to bad nutrition behavior. We can get influenza and pneumonia from eating contaminated food or liquids. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis can all be treated by eating healthier. For example, less salt on your food, low cholesterol consumption, and a low protein diet. Intentional self-harm (suicide) is an interesting way of death related to diet and nutrition behavior. You can kill yourself by eating too much food or too little food. You could commit suicide by eating something that your allergic to or poisonous for humans.

As you can see the saying “you are what you eat” literally describes your health. Poor nutrition behaviors can harm you over time with chronic diseases and illnesses. They can also kill you right away with not knowing what to eat or how to eat properly.


Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016, June 20). National Center for Health Statistics. Retrieved from Deaths and Mortality: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm

Smith, A., & Collene, A. (2016). Wardlaw’s Contemporary Nutrition (10 ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.