CAPT. Hibbeln, M.D., shares if healthful nutrition choices can prevent disease and ultimately reduce individual healthcare costs.
CAPT. Hibbeln, M.D.:
We think that if these cost-effective and economic changes can be made in people’s diets that the outcome for saving money in healthcare systems is huge.
I mean, 40 percent reduction of illness and in chronic illnesses could save a large amount of money.
There’s been several economic studies done looking at, one in particular, The Lewin Group in 2007 calculated the cost of giving everybody over the age of 65, two grams of omega-3s a day for the prevention of heart disease, and it turns out that you save about $44,000.00 per person by treating everybody over 65 with cardiovascular disease with omega-3 fatty acids.
So if you are a healthcare provider or if you are a healthcare insurance company where everybody has got to pay and you can save $44,000.00 per patient, it translates into billions of dollars saved in healthcare costs in the country.
The second economic study was done of the best treatments in pregnancy to prevent premature birth, the best treatments possible to extend gestation.
And economists had a very neutral view; they weren’t omega-3 fatty acid scientist, they just looked at the literature. They asked, “Well, should we identify go through the screening processes to identify women at risk? What are the best treatments?”
And they evaluated that absolutely most cost-effective treatment was not even bothering to screen everybody who was pregnant, just to give omega-3 fatty acids in pregnancy to everybody, and that would increase gestation time five to seven days.
And for a preterm and early birth that’s a huge amount of time for the baby’s health, again, reducing healthcare costs and ICU costs and terrible human costs of premature birth.
About CAPT. Joseph R. Hibbeln, M.D.:
Joseph R. Hibbeln, M.D., is a Captain in the United States Public Health Service. He is the acting chief on the Section of Nutritional Neurosciences at the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. CAPT. Hibbeln is a psychiatrist, a lipid biochemist, and an epidemiologist.