HealthDay News — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration policy on added sugar labeling could be a cost-effective way of improving health, according to a study published online April 15 in Circulation.

Yue Huang, from Tufts University in Boston, and colleagues used a validated microsimulation model to estimate the potential health impacts and cost-effectiveness of two policy scenarios: implementation of the FDA added sugar labeling policy (sugar label) and further accounting for corresponding industry reformulation (sugar label + reformulation). Representative demographic and dietary intake data were obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The researchers found that the sugar label would prevent 354,400 cardiovascular disease cases and 599,300 type 2 diabetes mellitus cases between 2018 and 2037. The policy would also gain 727,000 quality-adjusted life-years and save $31 billion in net health care costs and $61.9 billion in societal costs. Adding industry reformulation would result in prevention of 708,800 cardiovascular disease cases and 1.2 million type 2 diabetes mellitus cases, 1.3 million quality-adjusted life-years gained, and $57.6 billion and $113.2 billion savings in net health care costs and societal costs, respectively. With >80 percent probability, both scenarios were estimated to be cost saving by 2023.

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“These findings have important implications for individuals, policy makers, and the food industry alike,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Modest industry reformulation would be a powerful way to maximize potential benefits, highlighting industry’s critical role in being part of the solution.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry; a second author disclosed ties to nutrition and personal care industries.

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