New York:Lowering the cost of healthy foods,while increasing the prices on sugary drinks,junk food, could prevent thousands of deaths from heart disease and stroke each year,suggests a new study
The study revealed that a 10 percent price reduction on fruits and vegetables could overall decrease 1.2 percent deaths from cardiovascular diseases in five years and almost 2 percent within 20 years.
We know eating more fruits and vegetables is good for your heart. Now computer models suggest that making that produce more affordable may actually translate into lower death rates from heart disease and stroke. And, the researchers add, lower prices are more effective at saving lives than traditional campaigns designed to encourage consumption of fruits and vegetables, like "5 A Day.
Heart attacks and strokes can decrease by 2.6 percent and 4 percent, respectively, over a period of 20 years.
Also, a 10 percent price reduction on grains can result in 0.2 percent decrease from heart diseases within five years and 0.3 percent by 20 years.
Further, a price increase of 10 percent on sugary drinks, deaths from heart diseases overall could decrease by nearly 0.1 percent within 5 years and 0.12 percent within 20 years. Specifically, heart attacks could decrease by 0.25 percent in both timeframes and strokes could decrease by 0.17 percent in 20 years.
Diabetes could decrease by 0.2 percent in five years and 0.7 percent in 20 years.
Combined, the model shows that by 2035 it would be possible to prevent 515,000 deaths from heart disease and nearly 675,000 events, such as heart attacks and strokes, across the nation with these small changes in price.
If a change by one serving occurred daily, for example one more piece of fruit (100gm), one full serving of a vegetable (100 gm), one serving of whole grains (50 gm), and one less 8 oz sugar sweetened beverage were consumed then up to 3.5 million deaths and 4 million heart disease events could be averted over a 2 year period.
"A change in your diet can be challenging, but if achieved through personal choice or changes in the market place, it can have a profound effect on your cardiovascular health," said lead author Thomas A. Gaziano, assistant professor at Harvard University.
State and community leaders who want to improve the health of their communities can use these data to make impactful change, the researchers explained adding that the findings support the need to combine modest taxes and subsidies to better represent the real costs of food to health and society.
The research was presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology/Lifestyle 2016 Scientific 2016 meeting.
(Inputs from IANS)