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This year on April 7, World Health Day, focuses on high blood pressure, one of the many chronic diseases that are increasingly common around the world.
The World Health Organization reports that one third of adults worldwide have high blood pressure, and one in ten adults worldwide have diabetes. These diseases are already well known in the United States, where high blood pressure affects 31 percent of American adults. However, the highest levels of hypertension now occur in many African countries, where more than 40 percent of adults are affected, but where the money and infrastructure needed for treatment are most lacking.
While there are multiple causes of high blood pressure and other chronic diseases, poor diets are among the most significant. The world today is facing a food paradox. There are nearly one billion people hungry and one billion people overweight, and in many countries these problems now exist simultaneously. Although they may seem to be opposite problems, reports from groups such as the Barilla Center for Food Nutrition have linked both hunger and obesity with diets lacking in nutrients.
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