A new study found New York counties that implemented restrictions on trans fats experienced a 6.2 percent decline in hospital admissions for heart attack and stroke compared to counties without restrictions in place. The study provides further evidence of the effects public policy changes can have on population health.
USC Schaeffer Center and School of Pharmacy Assistant Professor Rebecca Myerson co-authored the study, which was published in JAMA Cardiology. The lead author of the study is Eric Brandt, MD of Yale University School of Medicine, who is a cardiologist who was drawn to the topic due to prior clinical data showing their deleterious effects of trans fats on health.
“This study helps to shore up the case for trans fat restrictions as good public policy,” said Myerson. “This is an example of the positive benefits public health policies can have on population health.”
Trans-fatty acids, or trans fats, are most often found in processed foods like cookies, crackers, frozen pizzas, and fried foods when food manufactures use partially hydrogenated oils for stabilizers. Recent studies have found even small amounts of trans fats are associated with an increase in cardiovascular events. To curb exposure, New York City enacted a ban on trans fats in eateries starting July 1, 2007. Similar restrictions were implemented in six additional counties across the state in the following years. Read more at the USC Schaeffer Center web site, healthpolicy.usc.edu.