Low intake of fruit and vegetables increasing global CVD burden

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A new study has found countries with the highest level of socio-economic development have the lowest burden of CVD attributed to low fruit and vegetable consumption.

Population interventions to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables could save millions of years lost to disability and premature death from cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to new research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2017 Scientific Sessions.

Researchers used nutritional and consumer expenditure surveys, as well as data from previous studies on the impact of low fruit and vegetable consumption on the risk of CVD, to calculate the number of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for 195 countries.

They found that, in 2015, low intake of fruits accounted for 57.3 million DALYs, while low intake of vegetables accounted for 44.6 million DALYs.

The burden of CVD attributed to limited fruit intake was lowest in Rwanda (5.1 per cent) and highest in Bangladesh (23.2 per cent) while the burden of CVD attributed to limited vegetable intake was lowest in North Korea (5.9 per cent) and highest in Mongolia (19.4 per cent).

The authors of a study published last month in the International Journal of Epidemiology suggested approximately 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide could be potentially prevented every year if people ate 10 portions, or 800g, of fruit and vegetables per day.

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