Introduction: The consumption of trans fat is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD). In January 2004, Denmark became the first country in the world to regulate the content of artificial trans fat in certain ingredients in food products, which nearly eliminated artificial trans fat from the Danish food supply. The goal of this study was to assess whether Denmark's trans fat policy reduced deaths caused by CVD.
Methods: Annual mortality rates in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries from 1990 to 2012 were used to estimate the effect of Denmark's food policy on CVD mortality rates. Synthetic control methods were employed to simulate the CVD mortality trajectory that Denmark would have witnessed in the absence of the policy and to measure the policy's impact on CVD mortality rates. Analyses were conducted in 2015.
Results: Before the trans fat policy was implemented, CVD mortality rates in Denmark closely tracked those of a weighted average of other OECD countries (i.e., the synthetic control group). In the years before the policy, the annual mean was 441.5 deaths per 100,000 people in Denmark and 442.7 in the synthetic control group. In the 3 years after the policy was implemented, mortality attributable to CVD decreased on average by about 14.2 deaths per 100,000 people per year in Denmark relative to the synthetic control group.
Conclusions: Denmark's food policy, which restricted the content of artificial trans fat in certain ingredients in its food supply, has been followed by a decrease in CVD mortality rates.
Published by Elsevier Inc.