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Open AccessArticle

Health Care Costs and Savings Associated with Increased Dairy Consumption among Adults in the United States

1
Center for Chemical Regulation and Food Safety, Exponent, Inc., Washington, DC 20036, USA
2
IQVIA, Health Economics and Outcomes Research, Falls Church, VA 22042, USA
3
Health Sciences, Exponent, Inc., Alexandria, VA 22314, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(1), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010233
Received: 15 August 2019 / Revised: 2 December 2019 / Accepted: 9 January 2020 / Published: 16 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dairy Products Consumption for Human Health)
Background: The purpose of this study is to estimate the impact on health care costs if United States (US) adults increased their dairy consumption to meet Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) recommendations. Methods: Risk estimates from recent meta-analyses quantifying the association between dairy consumption and health outcomes were combined with the increase in dairy consumption under two scenarios where population mean dairy intakes from the 2015–2016 What We Eat in America were increased to meet the DGA recommendations: (1) according to proportions by type as specified in US Department of Agriculture Food Intake Patterns and (2) assuming the consumption of a single dairy type. The resulting change in risk was combined with published data on annual health care costs to estimate impact on costs. Health care costs were adjusted to account for potential double counting due to overlapping comorbidities of the health outcomes included. Results: Total dairy consumption among adults in the US was 1.49 cup-equivalents per day (c-eq/day), requiring an increase of 1.51 c-eq/day to meet the DGA recommendation. Annual cost savings of $12.5 billion (B) (range of $2.0B to $25.6B) were estimated based on total dairy consumption resulting from a reduction in stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer and an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease and prostate cancer. Similar annual cost savings were estimated for an increase in low-fat dairy consumption ($14.1B; range of $0.8B to $27.9B). Among dairy sub-types, an increase of approximately 0.5 c-eq/day of yogurt consumption alone to help meet the DGA recommendations resulted in the highest annual cost savings of $32.5B (range of $16.5B to $52.8B), mostly driven by a reduction in type 2 diabetes. Conclusions: Adoption of a dietary pattern with increased dairy consumption among adults in the US to meet DGA recommendations has the potential to provide billions of dollars in savings. View Full-Text
Keywords: dairy products; chronic health outcomes; nutrition economics; costs and cost analysis dairy products; chronic health outcomes; nutrition economics; costs and cost analysis
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Scrafford, C.G.; Bi, X.; Multani, J.K.; Murphy, M.M.; Schmier, J.K.; Barraj, L.M. Health Care Costs and Savings Associated with Increased Dairy Consumption among Adults in the United States. Nutrients 2020, 12, 233.

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