Americans poor diet drives $50 billion a year in health care costs

An #NHLBI-funded study put a price tag on American's bad eating habits: $50 billion a year in health care costs, attributable to cardiometabolic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. The research, reported in the journal PLoS Medicine, sought to zero in on the national health care costs of unhealthy diet habits, which are known to account for up to 45% of all cardiometabolic deaths.

The researchers examined the impact of 10 food groups - fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, whole grains, unprocessed red meats, processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, polyunsaturated fats, seafood omega-3 fats and sodium - and found that almost 20% of heart disease, stroke and diabetes costs are due to poor diet.

Three dietary factors contributed most to these costs: consumption of processed meats, low consumption of nuts/seeds, and low consumption of seafoods containing omega-3 fats.