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Eur J Public Health. 2011 Feb;21(1):69-73. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckq013. Epub 2010 Feb 25.

Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption: a cost-effectiveness analysis of public policies.

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Service d'Epidémiologie et Santé Publique, INSERM 744, Institut Pasteur de Lille, Lille, France.



In many countries, consumption of fruits and vegetables (F&V) is below recommended levels. We quantify the economic and health effects of alternative policy (P) scenarios aiming to increase F&V consumption: (P1) 3.4% reduction in VAT, (P2) €100/year/person F&V stamp policy designed for low-income consumers (LIC) and (P3) €10 M information campaign.


An economic model of the F&V market provides F&V consumption variations to a health impact model, leading to the number of deaths avoided (DA) and life-years saved (LYS). We compare the cost per statistical DA and LYS, taking into account the public costs of alternative policies. This analysis is applied to France in 2006.


Relative risks of death for one additional F&V portion are disease dependent (range: 0.84-0.99). The highest variations in F&V consumption levels (less than +10 g/day/person on average) and health effects (<+600 DA, <+10 000 LYS) are modest. The costs/LYS are smaller for information campaign (€3 k), followed by VAT reduction (€99 k) and food stamp policy (€403 k). However, the information campaign leads to less LYS than VAT reduction. The food stamp policy reduces health inequalities between LIC and others, whereas the other ones can increase them.


Our results suggest that (i) LYS are larger with VAT reduction than F&V stamps policies, (ii) information campaigns are the most cost-effective and (iii) market forces can limit the impacts of public health policies designed to favour F&V consumption increase.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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