Dr Krueger and his team of researchers completed a careful analysis of fruit and vegetable consumption patterns of Canadians between 2000 and 2013 and estimated the economic burden associated with low consumption. This was published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health.
The Economic Benefits of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in Canada
Krueger H, Koot JM, Andres E. 2017. Canadian Journal of Public Health. Vol 108, No 2.
The purposes of this study were to:
- Determine the proportion of the population that meets or exceeds Canada’s Food Guide (CFG) recommendations regarding the number of daily servings of fruits and vegetables (F/V)
- To assess trends in this proportion between 2000 and 2013
- To estimate the annual economic burden attributable to inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption within the context of other important risk factors
- To estimate the short- and long-term costs that could be avoided if modest improvements were made to fruit and vegetable consumption in Canada.
Annual Economic Burden of Inadequate Fruit and Vegetable Consumption
Which risk factors were identified?
- Coronary heart disease
- Cerebrovascular disease
- Lung cancer
- Esophageal squamous cell carcinomas
- Cancers of the head and neck
Your mother was right. Eating vegetables is good for you.
Evidence indicating a protective effect of fruit and vegetable consumption on coronary heart and cerebrovascular disease was both consistent and compelling. The evidence for cancers was less clear.
Over three quarters of Canadians were not meeting Canada's Food Guide recommendations regarding the number of daily servings of fruits and vegetables. In order to determine the economic burden of this dietary neglect, both direct costs of illness and indirect costs associated with illness were assessed. For example, direct cots included hospital care, physician services, other health care professionals, drugs and so on. Indirect costs included short-term disability, long-term disability and premature mortality.
What was the economic burden?
The annual economic burden was $4.39 billion in 2013.
How much could Canada save if fruit and vegetable consumption improved?
The economic benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption would total $8.4 billion over a 23 year period if Canadians improved their diets by just 1%.