Health Care Cost Reduction – Executive Summary

A growing body of scientific research is beginning to provide important clues about how diet choices affect health. In some areas, the relationship between specific foods or dietary supplements and particular health outcomes is fairly clear; in other cases, more research is needed to clarify important relationships.

By the year 2030, there will be over 70 million people aged 65+, with half over age 75. Health care for Americans over age 65 could increase to nearly $16 trillion per year. A number of age-related diseases among others contribute significantly to whether an older person can maintain his or her independence, including coronary heart disease (CHD), osteoporosis, and age-relatedmacular degeneration (AMD).

The purpose of this study is to provide the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA) and its members with updates to earlier analyses of the health benefits and cost effects of daily use of selected supplements.

We used Congressional Budget Office cost accounting methodology to determine the economic impact on Medicare and others that could result from daily supplement use by people with edicare and women of childbearing age. Four supplement/disease combinations were examined and earlier estimates of cost effects were updated.1,2 These four supplements had been selected because the rigor and validity of the available scientific literature met critical evidentiary thresholds. The supplements are:

In our assessment of the quality of the research and the strength of the existing evidence, the underlying criterion for use in developing valid cost estimates was “the extent to which the study’s design and conduct can be shown to protect against systematic bias, nonsystematic bias, and inferential error.”3


Table of Contents | Next - Key Study Findings


1DaVanzo JE, Dobson A, et al. (2004) A Study of the Health and Cost Effects of Five Dietary Supplements. Falls Church, VA: The Lewin Group.
2DaVanzo JE, Dobson A, et al. (2006) An Evidence-Based Study of the Role of Dietary Supplements in Helping Seniors Maintain their Independence. Falls Church, VA: The Lewin Group.
3Carey T. (2002). Quality of Research and the Strength of Scientific Evidence. Presentation sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Evidence-based Practice Center Program.


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