Switch to healthy food has rapid impact

POLICY makers may assume it takes decades for reform of the food supply to impact on CVD mortality but evidence suggests otherwise, according to an opinion piece in the European Heart Journal.

It points to the sharp decline in deaths in Poland that followed the 1989 collapse of the Soviet Union, which halted subsidies for meat and animal fat.

Substantial increases in vegetable oil and fresh fruit intake followed and the subsequent 26% decrease in CVD deaths between 1990 and 1994 was “one of the fastest declines ever observed”.

“Population-wide interventions aimed at the major dietary determinants of CVD could have large and rapid benefits [which] might even be visible within the electoral term of many politicians,” it said.

Eur Heart J 2011; 32:1187-89

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