Study: 10% fruit, vegetable subsidy could prevent 150k cardiovascular disease deaths

National dietary policies could help significantly reduce or postpone deaths from cardiovascular disease, suggests a new study published by PLOS Medicine.

The study found a national fiscal policy that subsidized the cost of fruits and vegetables by 10 percent could prevent or postpone 150,500 lives over 15 years, while a targeted policy to subsidize fruits and vegetables by 30 percent for participants of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would reduce cardiovascular disease deaths by 35,100 over the same time period.

Researchers also examined the potential effects of a national mass media campaign and a national policy to increase tax sugar-sweetened beverages, raising prices by 10 percent, but found these policies would only reduce cardiovascular deaths by 25,800 and 31,000, respectively. They concluded that a combined approach would be the most effective: A fruit and vegetable subsidy would save the most lives and a SNAP-targeted policy would help reduce socio-economic disparities in health most.

"Our findings highlight the potentially powerful effects of fiscal measures targeting diet in the U.S.," the study authors wrote. "Dietary policies could potentially reduce cardiovascular disease, death and associated disparities."

Researchers based projections on the US IMPACT Food Policy Model and used data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program; the National Vital Statistics System; and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, in addition to published meta-analyses.


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