A new paper co-authored by Dariush Mozaffarian titled Cardiometabolic disease costs associated with suboptimal diet in the United States: A cost analysis based on a microsimulation model was recently published in PLoS Medicine. 

The authors estimated the cost associated with a suboptimal diet in the US by using a microsimulation model to estimate annual CVD and type 2 diabetes costs linked to suboptimal intake of 10 food groups, including seafood omega-3 fats. A representative US population sample of individuals aged 35–85 years was created from 2009–2012 NHANES data. Annual diet-related cardiometabolic disease (CMD) costs were US $301/person, which translates to $50.4 billion for the whole population. Of this, seafood omega-3 fats contributed $76 per person, or $12.7 billion. 

 According to the authors, these costs highlight the need to implement diet policies to address health and economic burdens.

Highlights from the paper, include:

  • Researchers estimated annual heart disease and type 2 diabetes costs in the U.S. associated with suboptimal intake of 10 food groups (fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, whole grains, unprocessed red meats, processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, polyunsaturated fats, seafood omega-3 fats, sodium).
  • The largest annual costs for each adult per year are attributed to low consumption of nuts/seeds ($81) and seafood omega-3 fats ($76). That adds up to $12.7 billion per year due to low seafood omega-3 fats consumption.
  • Researchers conclude the mean consumption of seafood in the US is extremely low, and thus, there is much to gain from an increase to ideal levels of consumption.

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