Making Fruits, Vegetables Affordable Might Prevent Deaths

Cutting the prices of fruits and vegetables has been linked to a reduction of cardiovascular deaths.
Cutting the prices of fruits and vegetables has been linked to a reduction of cardiovascular deaths.

HealthDay News — Controlling the cost of fruits and vegetables to encourage increased consumption could prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality, according to two studies presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2016 Scientific Sessions, held from March 1 to 4 in Phoenix.

Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard, BCh, from Imperial College London, and colleagues compared 3 contrasting policies targeting fruit and vegetable intake. The researchers found that a mass media campaign would result in 27,000 to 85,000 fewer deaths dependent on the campaign duration, gaining up to 1,280,000 life years gained (LYG) by 2030. A 10% decrease in price could prevent approximately 90,000 deaths and gain 1,450,000 LYGs by 2030, while a 30% price drop could prevent about 270,000 deaths by 2030.

Thomas A. Gaziano, MD, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues examined the impact of a 10% subsidy on prices of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and a 10% tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in an individual-based microsimulation model. Using conservative estimates of population growth, the researchers projected that the subsidy-increased consumption of fruits and vegetables would lead to 5- and 20-year reductions of 8% and 10% in CVD deaths, 16% and 18% in nonfatal myocardial infarction, and 25% and 24% in nonfatal stroke, respectively.

"A change in your diet can be challenging, but if achieved through personal choice or changes in the marketplace, it can have a profound effect on your cardiovascular health," Gaziano said in a statement.

For more information on the Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2016 Scientific Sessions, click here. 

Sources

  1. Policies to lower prices on fruits and vegetables may help save thousands of lives [news release]. Dallas, TX: American Heart Association. Published March 1, 2016; Accessed March 16, 2016. 
  2. A ten percent price change could prevent heart disease and death [news release]. Dallas, TX: American Heart Association. Published March 1, 2016; Accessed March 16, 2016. 
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