MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sonia Y. Angell, MD MPH
Division of General Medicine
Department of Medicine, Columbia University Irving Medical Center
New York, NY
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Trans fatty acid in the diet increases the incidence of coronary heart disease in the population. In 2006, a policy restricting restaurant use of trans fat went into effect in NYC. This study measured the change in trans fatty acid serum concentration among a representative sample of the NYC population between 2004 and 2013-2014, and whether the change varied by frequency of restaurant food dining.
Overall, blood trans fatty acid serum concentration went down by 57%. Among people who dined out less than one time a week, it went down 51% and in those who dined out 4 or more times a week, it went down 61.6%. In fact, in 2013-2014 there was no longer a significant increase in the serum trans fatty acid concentrations among those who ate restaurant foods frequently compared with those who ate out rarely.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Our findings suggest that this policy was effective at reducing trans fat exposure for diners and that’s important because 20% of NYC adults reported eating out 4 or more times a week. In NYC, policies aimed at improving the nutritional content of restaurant foods can have a population level impact.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: A federal government mandates preventing the use of partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of trans fat, went into effect in June 2018. For that reason, we have no additional studies related to this policy planned.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: Poor nutrition is a leading risk factor for CVD and trans-fat in the diet increases the risk for coronary heart disease. Just 2% of total calories (about 40 cal) from trans-fat has been shown to increase the incidence of CHD by 23%. The most important way to improve nutrition is to make the foods available to us healthier, an approach NYC used by restricting the use of trans fat in restaurants. Follow up studies like this allow public policy practitioners and the public to measure the effect of such policies.
American Journal of Public Health (AJPH)
Melecia Wright PhD, Wendy McKelvey PhD, Christine Johnson Curtis MBA, Lorna E. Thorpe PhD, Hubert W. VesperPhD, Heather C. Kuiper PhD, and Sonia Y. Angell MD, MPH
Accepted: December 05, 2018
Published Online: February 21, 2019
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