Restrictions on trans-fatty acids associated with fewer hospitalizations

Between 2007 and 2011, New York state implemented trans-fatty acid (TFA) restrictions in 11 counties to help improve residents’ health. New research is showing that it did just that—and had an especially significant impact on lowering the number of hospitalizations related to cardiovascular events.

Researchers used data from the New York State Department of Public Health that was collected from 2002 to 2013, according to the study, published April 12 in JAMA Cardiology. They conducted a retrospective observational pre-post study comparing hospitalization rates among different counties in the state from 2014 to 2016.

In other research, TFAs have been shown to increase the risk for coronary heart disease and stroke, but this is the first study to examine the association between TFA restrictions in New York and myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke.

“Before TFA restrictions, annual admission rates were already declining across the state,” the authors wrote in the study. “Trends in admissions for MI and stroke event rates combined, MI, and stroke before implementation of TFA restrictions were comparable between the populations with and without TFA restrictions in all analyses.”

Results from this study showed there was an additional 6.2 percent decline in hospital admissions for MI and stroke among people living in counties with trans-fatty acid restrictions, compared to counties without them. The decline began to become significant only three years after the restrictions were implemented.

The results are also consistent with other research on the topic, which has shown that TFA restrictions in New York were associated with a reduction in cardiovascular disease mortality.

The results are encouraging to healthcare professionals and policy makers that wish to minimize the amount of TFAs Americans eat every day. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is planning a nationwide restriction in 2018.