BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — A new health economic study shows potential healthcare savings of $12.7 billion per year if U.S. adults would increase their dietary fiber to about 25 grams, the minimum level recommended by health experts for adults. Currently, less than 1-in-10 Americans meet their daily fiber needs.
"With the rising cost of health care, this research highlights the importance of simple, realistic changes that we can make to our diet, such as eating more fiber, which could contribute to significant health care savings," stated Dominik Alexander, a principal epidemiologist, who managed the research team conducting the study.
The study, carried out by an independent team of researchers in nutritional sciences, epidemiology, and health economics from Exponent Health Sciences and commissioned by Kellogg Co., evaluated the direct medical costs associated with regularity problems among adults in the U.S. The research team developed a model to determine the potential money that could be saved through preventive, lifestyle-related measures, in this case, increasing dietary fiber intake.
Also according to the study, if only half of the U.S. population increased their dietary fiber intake by just three grams a day there could still be more than $2 billion in health care cost savings.
"This goal could be easily achieved with just one or two simple dietary changes," noted Lisa Sanders, director, global nutrition and scientific affairs at Kellogg Co.. "Selecting a higher fiber cereal for breakfast and having a piece of fruit or higher fiber snack bar later in the day could supply three grams of fiber, or even more."