Brexit could increase deaths from heart disease and strokes due to hikes in prices on imported fruit and vegetables, scientists have said.
A study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Open on Monday said the UK population would decrease its intake of fruit and vegetables following a forced hike in trade costs after the UK leaves the European Union on March 29.
This would lead to a greater chance of the population suffering with cardiovascular diseases.
Modelling the study on four different Brexit scenarios, scientists 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.
That's equivalent to a 2% increase in deaths from such diseases.
"Post-Brexit trade policy could increase price and decrease intake of fruit and vegetables, thus increasing [cardiovascular disease] mortality in England," the study authors from Imperial College London, University of Liverpool and the Medical University of Gdansk.
"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."