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Poor Diet Contributes Substantially to Cardiometabolic Disease Costs

Diet tied to more than $50 billion in annual health care costs for heart disease, stroke, diabetes

MONDAY, Dec. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Suboptimal diet accounts for 18.2 percent of all cardiometabolic disease (CMD) costs in the United States, according to a study published online Dec. 17 in PLOS Medicine.

Thiago Veiga Jardim, M.D., from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues used the Cardiovascular Disease Policy Model for Risk, Events, Detection, Interventions, Costs, and Trends microsimulation model to estimate annual cardiovascular disease (fatal and nonfatal myocardial infarction, angina, and stroke) and type 2 diabetes costs associated with suboptimal intake of 10 food groups (fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, whole grains, unprocessed red meats, processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, polyunsaturated fats, seafood omega-3 fats, sodium) among a representative U.S. population sample (adults aged 35 to 85 years) created using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (2009 to 2012).

The researchers found that annual diet-related CMD costs were $301/person, translating to $50.4 billion in CMD costs or 18.2 percent of total costs for the whole population. The majority of costs (84.3 percent) were attributed to acute care ($42.6 billion). Low consumption of nuts/seeds ($81) and seafood omega-3 fats ($76) accounted for the largest annual per-capita costs, and the lowest were attributed to high consumption of red meat ($3) and polyunsaturated fats ($20). Men ($380), those aged ≥65 years ($408), blacks ($320), the less educated ($392), and those with Medicare ($481) or dual-eligible ($536) insurance coverage had the highest individual costs.

“Our work illustrates the need for interventions or policies that incentivize healthier dietary behavior, as these changes have the potential to have a big impact and reduce the health and financial burden of cardiometabolic disease,” a coauthor said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the nutrition industry.

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