Estimated Healthcare Savings Associated With Adequate Dairy Food Intake

David A. McCarron, Robert P. Heaney

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Medical literature that has coalesced during the past two to three decades has identified adequate intake of nutrients from dairy foods as a common factor in the reduction of the disease burden of several common medical conditions. These include obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, kidney stones, certain outcomes of pregnancy, and some cancers. Treatment of these disorders, particularly cardiovascular, consumes a significant portion of the United States' healthcare budget. Drawing on accumulated data from prospective longitudinal studies and randomized controlled trials, this article summarizes the evidence of the net benefits of increased dairy food intake on these conditions, their outcomes, and their costs. Estimated improvements in outcomes were combined with available data on annual costs of the respective disorders. From the calculated annual impact, we generated first-year and fifth-year healthcare cost savings that would accrue if adult Americans simply increased their intake of dairy foods to the currently recommended 3 to 4 servings/d. Using conservative estimates of potential benefit, we project first-year savings of approximately $26 billion and 5-year cumulative savings in excess of $200 billion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-97
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine


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