trans fats workplace wellness

Ban on Trans Fats Associated with Fewer Heart Attacks, Strokes: JAMA

Just under two years ago, the US Food and Drug Administration announced plans for a “ban of artificial trans fat, which are linked to heart disease, from the food supply” by 2018, as Time reported.

At the time Dr. Stephen Ostroff, the FDA’s acting commissioner said, “This action is expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.”

Of course, well-run workplace wellness programs focus on nutrition and the reduction of unhealthy foods in one’s diet.

Now, even before the regulation has taken effect, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports on results from New York, where, according to the New York Times, “between 2007 and 2011, some counties in New York State, but not others, banned trans fatty acids in restaurants, bakeries, soup kitchens, park concessions and other public places where food is served. In a natural experiment to test the effect of the ban, researchers compared nine counties with trans fat restrictions to eight that had none.”

The study is titled “Hospital Admissions for Myocardial Infarction and Stroke Before and After the Trans-Fatty Acid Restrictions in New York.”

The researchers “conducted a retrospective observational pre-post study of residents in counties with TFA restrictions vs counties without restrictions from 2002 to 2013 using NYS Department of Health’s Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System and census population estimates. In this natural experiment, we included those residents who were hospitalized for MI [myocardial infarction or heart attack] or stroke. The data analysis was conducted from December 2014 through July 2016.”

The findings were clear: “there was an additional 6.2% decline in hospital admissions for myocardial infarction and stroke among populations living in counties with vs without trans-fatty acid restrictions. The decline in events reached statistical significance 3 or more years after restrictions were implemented.”

According to MedPage Today, the authors wrote: “Our results show the potential benefit of the FDA’s comprehensive restriction on PHOs, which is the source of TFAs in most packaged food.”

What does this mean? The report states: “Restrictions on trans-fatty acid consumption are associated with a decrease in hospitalization for cardiovascular events.” It concludes: “The NYS populations with TFA restrictions experienced fewer cardiovascular events, beyond temporal trends, compared with those without restrictions.”