Policies to lower prices on fruits and vegetables may help save thousands of lives

Lowering prices on fruits and vegetables may be more effective in reducing heart disease than mass media campaigns over 15 years, according to an updated analysis presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology/Lifestyle 2016 Scientific Sessions.

Dietary patterns that reduce fruit and vegetable prices by 10 percent through 2030 could lower the death rate from heart disease and stroke about 1 percent, saving about 64,000 to 69,000 lives over a 15-year period. A 30 percent price drop was modeled to be the most effective in saving lives – diminishing the death rate by almost 3 percent, saving between 191,000 and 205,000 lives over 15 years.

In comparison, researchers reported that a year-long mass media campaign promoting fruits and vegetables could reduce the cardiovascular death rate by about 0.1 percent, or 7,500 to 8,300 lives. A media campaign lasting 15 years, reduced the rate by 0.3 percent, or 22,800 to 24,800 deaths over 15 years, the study found.

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