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Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Print version ISSN 0042-9686


O'FLAHERTY, Martin et al. Potential cardiovascular mortality reductions with stricter food policies in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Bull World Health Organ [online]. 2012, vol.90, n.7, pp.522-531. ISSN 0042-9686.

OBJECTIVE: To estimate how much more cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality could be reduced in the United Kingdom through more progressive nutritional targets. METHODS: Potential reductions in CVD mortality in the United Kingdom between 2006 (baseline) and 2015 were estimated by synthesizing data on population, diet and mortality among adults aged 25 to 84 years. The effect of specific dietary changes on CVD mortality was obtained from recent meta-analyses. The potential reduction in CVD deaths was then estimated for two dietary policy scenarios: (i) modest improvements (simply assuming recent trends will continue until 2015) and (ii) more substantial but feasible reductions (already seen in several countries) in saturated fats, industrial trans fats and salt consumption, plus increased fruit and vegetable intake. A probabilistic sensitivity analysis was conducted. Results were stratified by age and sex. FINDINGS: The first scenario would result in approximately 12 500 fewer CVD deaths per year (range: 5500-30300). Approximately 4800 fewer deaths from coronary heart disease and 1800 fewer deaths from stroke would occur among men, and 3500 and 2400 fewer, respectively, would occur among women. More substantial dietary improvements (no industrial trans fats, reduction in saturated fats and salt and substantial increases in fruit and vegetable intake) could result in approximately 30 000 fewer (range: 13 300-74 900) CVD deaths. CONCLUSION: Excess dietary trans fats, saturated fats and salt, along with insufficient fruits and vegetables, generate a substantial burden of CVD in the United Kingdom. Further improvements resembling those attained by other countries are achievable through stricter dietary policies.

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