Published Papers - Abstract 478

Collins C, Patterson A & Fitzgerald D. Higher Diet Quality Does not Predict Lower Medicare Costs but Does Predict Number of Claims in Mid-Aged Australian Women. Nutrients, 2011; 3: 40-48

Optimal dietary quality, indicated by higher diet quality index scores, reflects greater adherence to National dietary recommendations and is also associated with lower morbidity and mortality from chronic disease. Whether this is reflected in lower health care cost over time has rarely been examined. The aim of this study was to examine whether higher diet quality, as measured by the Australian Recommended Food Score (ARFS), was associated with lower health care costs within the mid-aged cohort of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women‘s Health. We found that there was a statistically significant association between five year cumulative costs and ARFS, but in the opposite direction to that predicted, with those in the highest quintiles of ARFS having higher health care costs. However the number of Medicare claims over the six year period (2002–2007) was lower for those in the highest compared with the lowest quintile, p = 0.002. There is a need to monitor both costs and claims over time to examine health care usage in the longer term in order to determine whether savings are eventually obtained for those with the dietary patterns that adhere more closely to National recommendations.

Open Access Article