An Apple a Day: Polymeal vs. Polypill

Image: Abhijit Tembhekar

Image: Abhijit Tembhekar

Science Daily reports on a new study published in The BMJ

"Prescribing an apple a day to all adults aged 50 and over would prevent or delay around 8,500 vascular deaths such as heart attacks and strokes every year in the UK -- similar to giving statins to everyone over 50 years who is not already taking them -- according to a study in the Christmas edition of The BMJ.

The researchers conclude that the 150 year old public health message: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is able to match more widespread use of modern medicine, and is likely to have fewer side effects. The research takes into account people who are already appropriately taking statins to reduce their risk of vascular disease and therefore the authors stress that no-one currently taking statins should stop, although by all means eat more apples."

The study's conclusions:

"The comparison of a medicalised approach to chronic disease prevention with that of a lifestyle one has been previously estimated (polypill versus polymeal), although, in our view, not with any realistic hope of changing population behaviour, despite the suggestion to employ out of work cardiologists as chefs. We offer a simplified version of this: our study suggests that both nutritional and pharmaceutical population approaches to primary prevention of vascular disease have the potential to have a significant effect on population mortality. We find that a 150 year old proverb is able to match modern medicine and is likely to have fewer side effects."