Saturday, 5 March 2016

Lower fruit and vegetable prices might save lives

Lower fruit and vegetable prices might save lives
Dr KK Aggarwal

Cut the cost on fruits and vegetables by giving subsidy on them and raise the taxes of junk food, sugary beverages, alcohol and tobacco products to prevent thousands of deaths from heart disease and stroke.
Studies have shown that taxes that increased the price of tobacco have clearly had a very favorable impact on the number of Americans who smoke.

According to a study presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) meeting in Phoenix, a 30% drop in the cost of fruits and vegetables would translate to a more than 3% decrease in Americans' death rates from heart attack and stroke over 15 years. That amounts to roughly 200,000 lives saved. But even a much smaller dip in those prices could have big benefits, if it were paired with an increase in the cost of junk food. They estimated that if prices on fruits, vegetables and grains fell just 10%, while the cost of sugary drinks rose by the same amount, there could be 515,000 fewer deaths from heart disease and stroke over 20 years. 

The price changes could happen through local, state or federal excise taxes on sugary drinks, along with government subsidies for fruits and vegetables. The combination will be budget-neutral.

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