Modelling impacts of food industry co-regulation on noncommunicable disease mortality, Portugal
Goiana-Da-Silva F., Cruz-e-Silva D., Allen L., Gregório MJ., Severo M., Nogueira PJ., Nunes AM., Graça P., Lopes C., Miraldo M., Breda J., Wickramasinghe K., Darzi A., Araújo F., Mikkelsen B.
© 2019, World Health Organization. All rights reserved. Objective To model the reduction in premature deaths attributed to noncommunicable diseases if targets for reformulation of processed food agreed between the Portuguese health ministry and the food industry were met. Methods The 2015 co-regulation agreement sets voluntary targets for reducing sugar, salt and trans-fatty acids in a range of products by 2021. We obtained government data on dietary intake in 2015–2016 and on population structure and deaths from four major noncommunicable diseases over 1990–2016. We used the Preventable Risk Integrated ModEl tool to estimate the deaths averted if reformulation targets were met in full. We projected future trends in noncommunicable disease deaths using regression modelling and assessed whether Portugal was on track to reduce baseline premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases in the year 2010 by 25% by 2025, and by 30% before 2030. Findings If reformulation targets were met, we projected reductions in intake in 2015–2016 for salt from 7.6 g/day to 7.1 g/day; in total energy from 1911 kcal/day to 1897 kcal/day due to reduced sugar intake; and in total fat (% total energy) from 30.4% to 30.3% due to reduced trans-fat intake. This consumption profile would result in 248 fewer premature noncommunicable disease deaths (95% CI: 178 to 318) in 2016. We projected that full implementation of the industry agreement would reduce the risk of premature death from 11.0% in 2016 to 10.7% by 2021. Conclusion The co-regulation agreement could save lives and reduce the risk of premature death in Portugal. Nevertheless, the projected impact on mortality was insufficient to meet international targets.