Unhealthy Eating Habits Cost U.S. $50 Billion a Year
Healthier eating could save the United States more than $50 billion a year in health care costs associated with heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and related illnesses, according to a new study.
An unhealthy diet is one of the leading risk factors for poor health and accounts for up to 45% of all deaths from these cardiometabolic diseases, the researchers noted.
But the economic cost of illnesses caused by poor eating habits hadn’t been tallied.
In this study, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Tufts University in Massachusetts created a model to measure the impact of 10 food and nutrient groups on cardiometabolic disease costs for Americans aged 35 to 85 years. Those 10 groups were fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, whole grains, unprocessed red meats, processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, polyunsaturated fats, seafood omega-3 fats and sodium.
The researchers first looked at the effects of current eating habits and then did a recalculation if Americans ate the healthiest amounts of the 10 food/nutrient groups.
The study authors concluded that poor eating habits cost the United States about $300 per person, or $50 billion, a year and accounted for 18% of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes costs.