No-deal Brexit could impact health, raise risks of cardiovascular death: Study

Pro-Brexit protesters hold up placards and wave Union flags as they demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament in central London, on Jan 29, 2019.
Pro-Brexit protesters hold up placards and wave Union flags as they demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament in central London, on Jan 29, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (XINHUA) - A recent journal study has established a potential correlation between Brexit and extra cardio deaths from heart failures and strokes within the British population.

This is mainly due to price hikes on imported fruit and vegetables following the official Brexit on March 29, researchers said in an article published on British Medical Journal Open, an online open access platform dedicated to publishing medical research from all disciplines and therapeutic areas.

With 84 per cent of fruit and 43 per cent of vegetables eaten in Britain in 2017 imported from the European Union (EU) and non-EU countries, the country's fruit and veggie security will be at stake in the post-Brexit years because of increased border controls which push up tariffs and transaction cost.

A decreased intake of fruit and vegetables would lead to a greater chance of the population suffering with cardiovascular diseases, the article said, citing an average of five portions of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed by each individual daily advised by the World Health Organisation.

Modelling the study on varying Brexit scenarios, researchers from Imperial College London (ICL) and the University of Liverpool found that a no-deal scenario would be the deadliest, as it could increase the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease by more than 12,000 over the next decade, equivalent to a 2 per cent increase in deaths from such diseases.

Speaking of the significance of the study, Professor Christopher Millett, from the School of Public Health at ICL, who jointly led the research, said: "The UK's exit from the European Union has long been framed in terms of its political and social importance. But this study shows that the impact of Brexit will reach far beyond the economy and may affect people's risk of disease."

"The UK government should therefore carefully consider the population health implications of Brexit during upcoming negotiations and post-Brexit planning, particularly adverse changes to food systems," the article added.