Study: Fruits and vegetables save lives

Dec. 19, 2010 at 8:02 PM
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OXFORD, England, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Researchers say if Britons adhered to current British dietary recommendations, 33,000 lives could be saved yearly.

The study, published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, finds one dietary recommendation -- striving for five fruits and vegetables daily -- would account for nearly half of those saved lives.

"In order to achieve a reduction in mortalities similar to those attained by achieving the fruit and vegetables recommendation, the salt recommendation should be set at 3.5 grams per day," the study authors say in a statement. The current British daily recommendation is 6 grams.

Oxford University researchers, led by Peter Scarborough, fed data for 2005 to 2007 from four British countries on deaths from cardiovascular disease and cancer, food/nutrient consumption and the results of analyses of published evidence of diet's effect on mortality into a conceptual -- DIETRON model -- framework.

They calculated the number of lives saved if current British dietary recommendations were being met including eating at least 440 grams of fruits and vegetables and 18 grams of fiber a day with less than a one-third of total calories coming from fats.

In 2007, none of the countries in the United Kingdom met any of these recommendations, with Scotland and Northern Ireland the furthest away from achieving them, the study says.

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