Prescriptions For Healthy Foods Can Save Lives

Henrietta Strickland
March 24, 2019

It will not only lower the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, but it will also help save money on health care costs, shares a Reuters news article. Meanwhile, among the group with a broader healthy food incentive, 3.28 million cardiovascular disease cases were prevented.

Healthy food prescriptions through Medicare and Medicaid could generate substantial health gains and be highly cost-effective, according to a study published March 19 in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine by Yujin Lee and Dariush Mozaffarian of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, Massachusetts, United States and colleagues.

As a part of the Food-PRICE (Policy Review and Intervention Cost-Effectiveness) Project, Lee and colleagues estimated the health and economic impacts of healthy food prescriptions for adults in Medicare and Medicaid, the two largest USA federal health insurance programs, which together cover 1 in 3 Americans.

The study had two parts.

In the first model, the researchers aimed to see the effects of Medicare and Medicaid picking up the tab for 30 percent of fruit and vegetable purchases via an electronic debit card. Two frameworks were modeled: 30 percent insurance of fruit and vegetable procuring and 30 percent coverage of procuring of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts/seeds, seafood, and plant-based oils. The researchers estimated that the first model would reduce healthcare costs by almost $40 billion, while the second, more broad model would knock down healthcare costs by over $100 billion. Over $100 billion would be saved by the second proposal. Researchers found that subsidizing fruits and veggies would prevent 1.93 million cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and 350,000 deaths. What's more, subsidizing fruits and vegetables along with other healthy items would prevent 3.28 million cardiovascular conditions, 620,000 deaths and 120,000 diabetes cases.

A number of other studies have proven the myriad benefits of eating healthy and its impact on mental and physical wellness compared to junk food. Health experts push healthy food because it allows chronically ill people to stay at home and out of the hospital.

She further added that healthy food prescriptions are growingly being contemplated in private health insurance initiatives and contemporary 2018 Farm Bill involves a $25 million Produce Prescription Program to additionally assess this perspective. California is also allotting $6 million for a study that will provide meals tailored to a patient's diagnosis.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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