Prescribing people healthy food can help save lives. 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. Studies have shown that if 3.28 billion cases of heart disease and diabetes can be prevented, then $100 billion could be saved each year.
The study involved people who were between the ages of 35 and 80. They were all on Medicaid or Medicare. They took data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They measured how food prescriptions would impact people’s health and the cost of health care.
The study had two parts. In the first part of the study, Medicare and Medicaid covered 30 percent of the cost of fruits and vegetables. Medicare and Medicaid covered 30 percent of the cost of things like fruits, vegetables, seafood, whole grains and nuts in the second part of the study.
The researchers found that $40 billion would be saved by the first proposal. Over $100 billion would be saved by the second proposal. They also found that people would be healthier.
They found that if fruits and vegetables were subsidized, then 1.93 million heart disease events can be prevented. Additionally, 350,000 lives can be saved. If fruits and vegetables are subsidized along with other healthy items, then 3.28 million cases of heart disease can be prevented and 620,000 lives can be saved.
There have been other studies done to show that eating healthy can save lives and millions of dollars. The 2018 Farm Bill included coverage for prescription pilot programs. Health experts push healthy food because it allows chronically ill people to stay at home and out of the hospital.
California started a three-year program to give 1,000 people with diabetes or heart failure free healthy food. Over $6 million has been used to fund the program.