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Keogh-Brown, Marcus R., Jensen, Henning Tarp, Basu, Sanjay, Aekplakorn, Wichai, Cuevas, Soledad, Dangour, Alan D., Gheewala, Shabbir H., Green, Rosemary, Joy, Edward JM, Rojroongwasinkul, Nipa, Thaiprasert, Nalitra, Shankar, Bhavani and Smith, Richard D. (2019) 'Evidence on the magnitude of the economic, health and population effects of palm cooking oil consumption: an integrated modelling approach with Thailand as a case study.' Population Health Metrics, 17 (1).

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BACKGROUND: Palm oil’s high yields, consequent low cost and highly versatile properties as a cooking oil and food ingredient have resulted in its thorough infiltration of the food sector in some countries. Longitudinal studies have associated palm oil’s high saturated fatty acid content with non-communicable disease, but neither the economic or disease burdens have been assessed previously. // METHODS: This novel palm oil-focussed disease burden assessment employs a fully integrated health, macroeconomic and demographic Computable General Equilibrium Model for Thailand with nine regional (urban/rural) households. Nutritional changes from food consumption are endogenously translated into health (myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke) and population outcomes and are fed back into the macroeconomic model as health and caregiver-related productive labour supply effects and healthcare costs to generate holistic 2016–2035 burden estimates. Model scenarios mirror the replacement of palm cooking oil with other dietary oils and are compared with simulated total Thai health and macroeconomic burdens for MI and stroke. // RESULTS: Replacing consumption of palm cooking oil with other dietary oils could reduce MI/stroke incident cases by 8280/2639 and cumulative deaths by 4683/894 over 20 years, removing approximately 0.5% of the total Thai burden of MI/stroke. This palm cooking oil replacement would reduce consumption shares of saturated/monounsaturated fatty acids in Thai household consumption by 6.5%/3% and increase polyunsaturated fatty acid consumption shares by 14%, yielding a 1.74% decrease in the population-wide total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio after 20 years. The macroeconomic burden that would be removed is US$308mn, approximately 0.44% of the total burden of MI/stroke on Thailand’s economy or 0.003% of cumulative 20-year GDP. Bangkok and Central region households benefit most from removal of disease burdens. // CONCLUSIONS: Simulations indicate that consumption of palm cooking oil, rather than other dietary oils, imposes a negative health burden (MI and stroke) and associated economic burden on a high consuming country, such as Thailand. Integrated sectoral model frameworks to assess these burdens are possible, and burden estimates from our simulated direct replacement of palm cooking oil indicate that using these frameworks both for broader analyses of dietary palm oil use and total burden analyses of other diseases may also be beneficial.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Interdisciplinary Studies > Centre for Development, Environment and Policy
ISSN: 14787954
Copyright Statement: © The Author(s) 2019. Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2019 14:10
Funders: Wellcome Trust

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