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Healthy food is paid for by health insurance companies

Healthy food is paid for by health insurance companies



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Economic incentives through health insurance encourage healthier behavior

A recent study has shown that economic incentives could promote healthier behavior through health insurance. Prescribing healthy foods could prevent numerous serious illnesses. This would also significantly reduce health costs.

Eat healthier

In the past, consumer advocates in Germany have called for the abolition of VAT on fruit and vegetables in order to make such foods cheaper and thus encourage consumers to consume more of these healthy products. Economic incentives from health insurance companies could also contribute to a healthier lifestyle. A recent study by American scientists has now shown this.

Health effects of diet

Numerous scientific studies have been carried out in recent years, which have shown how important the right nutrition is for human health.

Whole grain products, nuts and seeds as well as vegetable oils have proven to be advantageous in studies.

For example, German researchers found that fiber, such as those found in whole grains, works just as well as blood pressure pills in high blood pressure.

And U.S. scientists reported that plant-derived proteins from nuts and seeds can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Diseases can also be prevented by the right intake of fat. As a rule, it is recommended to use vegetable rather than animal products.

Fruit and vegetables should also be on the menu regularly.

Prescribing healthy food

Improper nutrition, in turn, is one of the leading risk factors for diseases such as diabetes or cardiovascular diseases.

Still, many people's diets all too often contain unhealthy products. So how can you encourage consumers to focus more on healthy foods?

Among other things, through financial incentives, as a study recently published in "PLOS Medicine" showed.

The US research team found that prescribing healthy foods at the expense of health insurance could bring significant health benefits and could be extremely cost-effective.

According to the scientists, this measure could be just as or more effective than other common interventions, such as preventive drug treatments for high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Economic and health benefits

"Healthcare spending continues to grow dramatically in almost every country," the study authors write, pointing out that nutrition is a key driver of this development.

Therefore, the microsimulation study estimated the economic and health benefits that would result if 30 percent of the cost of buying healthy food in supermarkets and grocery stores were covered by health programs.

Two scenarios were examined: 30 percent coverage for fruit and vegetable purchases; and 30 percent coverage when buying fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts / seeds, seafood and vegetable oils.

Health care costs would be reduced

The study concluded that both programs would improve health and reduce health care costs.

An incentive to buy fruit and vegetables would prevent 1.93 million cardiovascular diseases.

And in the second scenario, 3.28 million fewer cardiovascular diseases and 120,000 avoided diabetes cases would be possible.

"Our results support the introduction and assessment of healthy food recipes within health systems to improve Americans' nutrition and health," said Dr. Renata Micha from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy according to a contribution from the portal "Nutrition Insight".

But: "Simulation studies like this provide quantitative estimates of benefits and uncertainty, but cannot directly prove the effects on health and the economy," restrict the study authors. (ad)

Author and source information


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