The economic benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption in Canada

Hans Krueger, Jacqueline Koot, Ellie Andres

Abstract


OBJECTIVES: The objectives 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 F/V consumption within the context of other important risk factors, and to estimate the short- and long-term costs that could be avoided if modest improvements were made to F/V consumption in Canada.

METHODS: We used a previously developed methodology based on population-attributable fractions and a prevalence-based cost-of-illness approach to estimate the economic burden associated with low F/V consumption.

RESULTS: Over three quarters of Canadians are not meeting CFG recommendations regarding the number of daily servings of F/V, leading to an annual economic burden of $4.39 billion. If a 1% relative increase in F/V consumption occurred annually between 2013 and 2036, the cumulative reduction in economic burden over the 23-year period would reach $8.4 billion. Consumption levels of F/V, and the resulting economic burden, varied by sex, age and province.

CONCLUSION: A significant majority of Canadians are not consuming the recommended daily servings of F/V, with important consequences to their health and the Canadian economy. Programs and policies are required to encourage F/V consumption in Canada.


Keywords


Economic burden of disease; populations at risk; risk factors; fruit and vegetable consumption

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17269/cjph.108.5721