(HealthDay News) – An apple a day or a statin a day are equally likely to keep the doctor away, according to a modeling study published online Dec. 17 in BMJ.

Adam D.M. Briggs, from University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues modeled the effect on vascular mortality if all adults in the United Kingdom over age 50 years were prescribed a statin (for those not already taking one) or an apple a day for everyone, regardless of whether they were taking a statin or not. Compliance of 70% was estimated.

The researchers found that for a statin a day the estimated annual reduction in mortality from vascular disease was 12% per 1mmol/L reduction in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or 9,400 deaths. Using a PRIME model (assuming an apple weighs 100g and that overall calorie consumption remains constant) the equivalent reduction from an apple a day was found to be 8,500.

“With similar reductions in mortality, a 150 year old health promotion message is able to match modern medicine and is likely to have fewer side effects,” the authors conclude.

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