Reducing cost of food items may help reduce death risk


    New Delhi: Cutting down the prices for healthy food items such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts could save thousands of lives per year, a new study has found.

    Besides, increasing the tax rates on junk foods including sugar-sweetened beverages and red meat can reduce the deaths caused by diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

    The findings showed that if the prices of all the seven dietary items — fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts seeds, processed and unprocessed red meats and sugary drinks — were altered 10 per cent each, an estimated 23,000 deaths per year could be prevented.

    A 30 per cent price change almost tripled that approximation with an estimation of 63,000 deaths prevented per year, or 9.2 per cent of all cardiometabolic disease deaths.

    “We found that modest price changes on healthy and unhealthy foods would help decrease overall cardiometabolic deaths. The largest changes were viewed after reducing the prices of fruits and vegetables and increasing the price of sugary drinks,” said Jose L. Penalvo, Assistant Professor at the Tufts University in Boston, the US.

    While taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages reduced diabetes deaths, subsidies on fruits and vegetables decreased deaths caused by stroke, revealed the study published in the journal BMC Medicine.

    Moreover, the results suggest that financial incentives to purchase healthy food, and disincentives to purchase unhealthy foods, can prove successful in meaningfully reducing cardiometabolic disease disparities.

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