Unhealthy Diet as a Risk Factor for Non-Communicable Diseases: A Study on Males over 40 Years of Age in the Colombo District, Sri Lanka

A.P.H.S. Jayarathne


Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) can be observed as a leading cause of mortality in Sri Lanka. Unhealthy diet, smoking, physical inactivity and the harmful use of alcohol increase the risk of dying from an NCD. Unhealthy diet can be recognized as one of the main behavioural risk factors that cause NCDs. The main objective of this study is to investigate the impact of ‘unhealthy diet’ as a risk factor for NCDs. In this study, both primary and secondary data sources have been utilized. In the process of data collection, a questionnaire was administrated and additionally, in-depth interviews were conducted with key informants. Target population were men over 40 years of age who suffer from any kind of NCD in the Colombo district.  This study tries to identify the impact of ‘unhealthy diet’ on the morbidity of the men and the extent to which they have controlled after being diagnosed with a NCD. Eventhough there is attention paid on the before and after situation of diagnosing with a NCD, there were no significant changes visible but only slight changes in the consumption patterns of fruits, vegetables and green leaves. On the contrary, there were significant changes in the consumption patterns of salt, sugar and fat. Consumption of salt, sugar and fat has been reduced after being diagnosed with a NCD. Compared to vegetables and green leaves, the consumption of fruits has been reduced mainly due to quality concerns of fruits nowadays. In conclusion it can be said that to minimize the mortality through NCDs; unhealthy diet has to be controlled.

Keywords: Behavioural risk factors, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), unhealthy diet