Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally

Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) are the number one cause of death globally.

World Heart Day is celebrated on September 29 every year and its theme for this year is “use heart to beat cardiovascular diseases.”

Every year, 277,000 people die in Bangladesh due to heart diseases where 4.41% of those deaths is attributable to trans fat.

Transfat (TFA) is one of the major causes for the increased risks of heart diseases, and more alarmingly Bangladesh ranks among the 15 countries with the highest burden of heart disease deaths due to trans fat.

Bangladesh is yet to introduce any law or regulation to protect the public health from the harms of TFA.

However, the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) has taken a policy decision on TFA regulation and formed a technical committee composed of relevant experts. The committee has already prepared a position paper to regulate TFA.

Partially hydrogenated oil (PHO) is the prime source of trans fat, which is more familiar as dalda or bonospoti in Bangladesh. 

In a recent study conducted by the National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute, 92% of sampled PHOs from Dhaka city contain trans fat levels above the 2% limit set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

On the occasion of World Heart Day, Executive Director of PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress), a research and advocacy organization, ABM Zubair commented that countries across the globe are uniting to eliminate trans fat. Hence, there can be no excuse for procrastination.

In order to reduce risks of heart diseases in Bangladesh, PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) urges to speedily enact and implement policies following WHO guidelines of limiting trans fat to 2% of total fat in all fats, oils, and foods. 

Furthermore, PROGGA opines that restrictions must be placed for complementary measures such as mandating trans fat levels to be listed on prepackaged items’ nutrition facts panels, requiring partially-hydrogenated oils to be included on ingredients lists, requiring front-of-package labels that note when products contain TFA, and restricting the use of health claims related to TFA – such as “TFA-free” or “low in TFA.”


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