Study says improve America’s diet and save billions on healthcare

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In Massachusetts, new research suggests improving the quality of the average American’s diet could substantially reduce costs associated with heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other major health problems.

“We found that increasing adherence to healthy dietary patterns by even 20 percent at a population level has the potential to save more than $20 billion in both direct and indirect costs associated with 10 major health outcomes,” said lead study author Dr. Carolyn Scrafford, senior managing scientist at Exponent, a scientific consulting firm. “Our results suggest that it’s worthwhile to educate Americans on these dietary patterns and their components, to encourage them to make little changes to improve their diet quality.”

The study is the first to comprehensively analyze the potential cost implications of improved adherence to healthy dietary patterns among US adults across major chronic disease types. Previous research focused on specific populations or specific conditions, such as heart disease.