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Mediterranean Diet and Quality of Life
We know that following a Mediterranean style diet can help prevent a number of chronic diseases and conditions - from improving insulin levels and cholesterol scores to preventing heart attack and stroke. But health is more than just lack of disease - it's also about quality of life.
The True Cost and Benefit of Eating Healthy
Often when I am discussing eating healthy with my patients they’ll say that it is difficult for them because healthy foods cost more. It is a common misperception that eating fresh food means a larger grocery bill each week. This topic has been analyzed in research extensively and it is true that there is a slightly higher cost in consuming a healthy diet than eating a traditional western diet.
Yes, Healthier Foods Cost More. But.
I'm sure you've all seen the headlines about a recent article in the British Medical Journal that concluded that a healthier diet costs about $1.50 per day more than a less-healthy diet (BMJ Open 2013;3:e004277). Yes, it's true, as far as their analysis goes. Let's look at what they really wrote.
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If you've been reading News Bites or my columns on the website for a while, you've heard all about the health risks of obesity. The RAND Corporation, a non-profit research organization that provides objective analysis in a wide range of fields, has released a "Research Highlight" summarizing its research on the long-term economic consequences of the United States' dash toward obesity ("Obesity and Disability": www.rand.org/health).
They started with data from a national telephone survey of about 10,000 respondents between the ages of 18 and 65. Obesity, they conclude, is associated with "more chronic medical conditions than smoking or problem drinking" - put together!
But it's not just the chronic medical problems in and of themselves that represent the economic risk of obesity, even though the obese spend 36% more on health care services and 77% more on medications than normal weight persons. The biggest long-term economic risk is obesity's contribution to disability.
And that's not disability among the elderly, that's disability among 30 to 59-year-olds, whose disability rates have increased by almost 50 percent. The fastest-growing causes of their disability are diabetes and musculoskeletal problems - both of which are related to obesity.
By estimating the link between obesity and health and looking at obesity trends over time, RAND analysts projected some of the risks and costs of obesity in 2020. They predict:
They note that if that were the case, it is likely that Medicaid would then act to limit those eligible for nursing home care in order to reduce its expenditures. And you know what that means: some people will do without.
Maintaining a normal weight is the single most important thing you can do for your health. And not just your physical health, but your financial health, too. Need to lose weight? Try The Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan. This plan can be customized for those on Coumadin (warfarin), who are allergic to wheat gluten or are lactose-intolerant, those with GERD / Acid Reflux / Heartburn, and are suitable for those on a low-sodium diet, who are watching their cholesterol, or who are diabetic. Make a positive change today!
First posted: April 25, 2007