Could Lower Fruit Prices Save Lives?
Some solutions are simple (but that’s not to say easily achievable).
Research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology/Lifestyle 2016 Scientific Sessions in Phoenix has concluded that reducing the price of fruits, vegetables and grains – and increasing the price of sugary drinks – could prevent more than half a million deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the U.S. by 2035.
Researchers used a computer model to estimate how lowering the price of fruits, vegetables and grains by 10%, and raising the price of sugary drinks by 10% might impact CVD rates.
The models showed that the price changes combined would prevent around 515,000 deaths from CVD in the U.S. by 2035 – as well as prevent 675,000 CVD events, including heart attack and stroke.
The reduction in the price of fruits and vegetables alone could reduce deaths from CVD by 1.2% within 5 years, according to the team, and by almost 2% within 20 years. It could also lead to a 2.6% fall in heart attacks and a 4% fall in strokes within 20 years. As for sugary drinks, the price rise could lower deaths from CVD by almost 0.1% within 5 years and by 0.12% within 20 years.
The study authors added a more startling conclusion – if each person in America added 100 g of fruit, 100 g of vegetables and 50 g of whole grains to their diet each day, as well as cutting out one 8-ounce sugary drink, up to 3.5 million CVD deaths and 4 million cardiovascular events could be avoided in just 2 years.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S., responsible for around 610,000 deaths every year.