Contribution of Trans-Fatty Acid Intake to Coronary Heart Disease Burden in Australia: A Modelling Study

Wu, Jason H. Y.; Zheng, Miaobing; Catterall, Elise; Downs, Shauna; Thomas, Beth; Veerman, Lennert; Barendregt, Jan J.

Trans-fatty acids (TFAs) intake has been consistently associated with a higher risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality. We provided an updated assessment of TFA intake in Australian adults in 2010 and conducted modeling to estimate CHD mortality attributable to TFA intake. Data of the 2011–2012 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey was used to assess TFA intake. The CHD burden attributable to TFA was calculated by comparing the current level of TFA intake to a counterfactual setting where consumption was lowered to a theoretical minimum distribution of 0.5% energy. The average TFA intake among adults was 0.59% energy, and overall 10% of adults exceeded the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended limit of 1% energy. Education and income were moderately and inversely associated with TFA intake (p-value ≤ 0.001), with one in seven adults in the lowest income and education quintile having >1% energy from TFA. Australia had 487 CHD deaths (95% uncertainty interval, 367–615) due to TFA exposure, equivalent to 1.52% (95% uncertainty limits: 1.15%–1.92%) of all CHD mortality. The relative impact of TFA exposure on CHD mortality in Australia is limited, but, in absolute terms, still substantial. Policies aimed at reducing industrial TFA exposure can reduce socioeconomic inequalities in health and may therefore be desirable.

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Earth Institute
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April 19, 2017