Better food spending saves on health costs

The US could save US$100 billion in healthcare costs over 18 years by prescribing healthy food through public and private health insurers and programmes, a new study shows.

Using computer modelling, researchers calculated the reduction, and subsidised healthy foods, including fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, seafood and plant oils, were estimated to prevent 3.28 million cardiovascular disease events and 120,000 diabetes cases, and 8.40 million quality-adjusted life years were gained. Researchers did the same calculations on a more restrained fruit and vegetables subsidy, also with impressive results.

“Simulation studies such as this one provide quantitative estimates of benefits and uncertainty but cannot directly prove health and economic impacts,” the researchers say.

First published: May 2019

Article sources and references

  • PLOS Medicine, March 2019

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