(New York, USA and Delhi, India) – In India, the consumption of trans fats – largely present in Vanaspati ghee, margarine and shortenings, and found in snack foods, baked foods, and fried foods – is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD). There were 54.5 million cases of CVD in India in 2016 and it caused 28.1% of deaths in the country that year. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has implemented a new communications campaign to support the removal of trans fats from the food supply.
“Trans fats are intended to lengthen the shelf life of food, but this is at the significant expense of human life,” said Sandra Mullin, Senior Vice President of Vital Strategies. “This is why we were pleased to support an effort to create a first ever public service announcement, Heart Attack Rewind, on the dangers of trans fats, to demonstrate to Indian citizens how bad this artificial additive is for their health. We congratulate FSSAI and the government of India for their commitment to rid this dangerous substance from India’s food supply.”
Heart Attack Rewind will be broadcast across India in 17 languages for a period of four weeks on major digital platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Hotstar, and Voot. Additionally, the campaign will be broadcast on radio channels and placed on outdoor hoardings in Delhi/NCR. A corresponding social media campaign will also highlight the harmful effects of trans fats on people’s health. Experts at Vital Strategies developed the campaign on behalf of FSSAI. Stills and transcript of the PSA is available upon request.
Heart Attack Rewind English PSA: YouTube link https://youtu.be/5L5sZ9XxeXc
Heart Attack Rewind Hindi PSA: YouTube link https://youtu.be/H7XRiRnHbU4
Health risks associated with trans fats
Eating trans fats increases the risk of stroke and heart disease, India’s biggest killer, and other health issues. Globally, approximately 540,000 deaths each year can be attributed to the intake of industrially produced trans-fatty acids. High trans fat intake increases the risk of death from any cause by 34%, coronary heart disease deaths by 28%, and coronary heart disease by 21%. This is likely due to the effect on lipid levels: trans fat increases LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels while lowering HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels. Consumption of trans-fats also is associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Trans fat has no known health benefits.
In May 2018, World Health Organization (WHO) launched a comprehensive plan, including the REPLACE six-step action package, to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats from the global food supply by 2023. FSSAI aims to eliminate trans fats in India by the year 2022, a year ahead of the global target. Reformulation of products that use trans fats is essential to this goal and after a consultation earlier this year, Vanaspati manufacturers, food companies, bakery associations and others signed a pledge to support FSSAI’s plan to lower the levels of trans fats in India’s food supply from the present <5% to <2%.