Title: Public health economic evaluation of different European Union–level policy options aimed at reducing population dietary trans fat intake
Citation: AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CLINICAL NUTRITION vol. 104 no. 5 p. 1218-1226
Publication Year: 2016
JRC N°: JRC84844
ISSN: 0002-9165
URI: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/104/5/1218
DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.116.136911
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Background: The adverse relation between dietary trans fatty acid (TFA) intake and coronary artery disease risk is well established. Many countries in the European Union (EU) and worldwide have implemented different policies to reduce the TFA intake of their populations. Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the added value of EU-level action by estimating the cost-effectiveness of 3 possible EU-level policy measures to reduce population dietary TFA intake. This was calculated against a reference situation of not implementing any EU-level policy (i.e., by assuming only national or self-regulatory measures). Design: We developed a mathematical model to compare different policy options at the EU level: 1) to do nothing beyond the current state (reference situation), 2) to impose mandatory TFA labeling of prepackaged foods, 3) to seek voluntary agreements toward further reducing industrially produced TFA (iTFA) content in foods, and 4) to impose a legislative limit for iTFA content in foods. Results: The model indicated that to impose an EU-level legal limit or to make voluntary agreements may, over the course of a lifetime (85 y), avoid the loss of 3.73 and 2.19 million disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), respectively, and save >51 and 23 billion euros when compared with the reference situation. Implementing mandatory TFA labeling can also avoid the loss of 0.98 million DALYs, but this option incurs more costs than it saves compared with the reference option. Conclusions: The model indicates that there is added value of an EU-level action, either via a legal limit or through voluntary agreements, with the legal limit option producing the highest additional health benefits. Introducing mandatory TFA labeling for the EU common market may provide some additional health benefits; however, this would likely not be a cost-effective strategy.
JRC Directorate:Health, Consumers and Reference Materials

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