Making good food cheaper, like fruits and vegetables, would prevent thousands of deaths per year



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Would cheaper fruits and vegetables improve people's health? A study published on Monday suggests that the answer is yes.

The study published in BMC Medicine revealed that changing the prices of seven foods could reduce deaths from stroke, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Price subsidies of 10 percent on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts or seeds and a 10 percent tax on processed meat, raw meat and sweetened beverages such as soda resulted in about 23,000 deaths prevented per year .

The price changes of 30 percent would triple the prevented deaths to about 63,000 per year, which represents about 9 percent of all deaths from stroke, diabetes or heart disease.

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[194590009]  RTS1KT98 Amanda Sweetman, project manager at The Farm, shows some of the fruits and vegetables grown in the gardens in front of Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ypsilanti , Michigan, August 23, 2017. Reuters

According to national data what people consume, risk factors, morbidity and mortality rates and Information on how people respond to price changes allowed researchers to model what might happen if certain subsidies or taxes were applied to different types of food. Deaths from diabetes were more influenced by the more expensive sugary drinks, while LCA deaths were more influenced by cheaper fruits and vegetables, according to the researchers.

"This is the first time, in our understanding, that national data sets have been pooled and badyzed to investigate the influence of food subsidies and taxes on disparities in cardiometabolic deaths in the United States," author José L. Peñalvo, badistant professor at the school of science and nutrition policy at Tufts University, said in a statement.

Modest changes in prices, said Peñalvo, would decrease overall cardiometabolic deaths while reducing disparities among socioeconomic groups. fruits and vegetables while increasing the prices of sugary drinks. The highest proportion of deaths would be avoided among Americans with a high school education or a high school diploma. In addition, price changes would reduce disparities in the three diseases: stroke, diabetes and heart disease.

 RTS163W3 [19659012] A lady buys at Aldi, a grocery retail chain in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. USA, April 13, 2017. </span> <span clbad= Reuters

"Our findings on disparities are particularly relevant today, with increasing inequities in diet and cardiometabolic disease," said Peñalvo.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US UU caused by poor quality diets, according to the study. Taxes on sugary drinks have been implemented in several cities throughout the country, reported Forbes . Nationally, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was proposed to improve school lunch programs. In general, however, there have been few substantial systematic changes to improve nutrition and eating habits across the country, said Dariush Mozaffarian, co-author and dean of the school of science and nutrition policy at Tufts University.

"The traditional approach in the United States has been education, willingness and personal responsibility as if food were only an individual choice and there was nothing more that anyone should do about it," said Mozaffarian Newsweek . However, the historical public health crises in the US UU They were treated systematically, instead of blaming the individual. Car safety and smoking are two examples, said Mozaffarian. [19659000]  RTR4CP8Z [19659018] Dr.Vicki Alexander, co-chair of the "Yes in D" campaign, poses for a portrait at the Measure D venue in Berkeley, California, on November 3, 2014. </span> <span clbad= Reuters

Food is "the greatest missed opportunity of good health in this country," said Mozaffarian. "Prices and tax incentives are a great way to do that for the food system while preserving the choice."

The epidemic of childhood obesity has made people realize that nutrition and diseases related to obesity are not a problem of will or that people choose unhealthy foods, but "a problem with the system" .

The Tufts study showed that a 30 percent price change would prevent 1 in 11 deaths from heart disease, stroke and diabetes in this country. Quantification of indirect and direct costs "I think that at the end of the day, policy makers are driven by dollars and cents," said Mozaffarian. . "We have to give them that evidence"

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