Background: The burden imposed by disease-associated malnutrition (DAM) on patients and the healthcare system in food-abundant industrialized countries is often underappreciated. This study measured the economic burden of community-based DAM in the United States.
Methods: The burden of DAM was quantified in terms of direct medical costs, quality-adjusted life years lost, and mortality across 8 diseases (breast cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], colorectal cancer [CRC], coronary heart disease [CHD], dementia, depression, musculoskeletal disorders, and stroke). To estimate the total economic burden, the morbidity and mortality burden was monetized using a standard value of a life year and combined with direct medical costs of treating DAM. Disease-specific prevalence and malnutrition estimates were taken from the National Health Interview Survey and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Deaths by disease were taken from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Estimates of costs and morbidity were taken from the literature.
Results: The annual burden of DAM across the 8 diseases was $156.7 billion, or $508 per U.S. resident. Nearly 80% of this burden was derived from morbidity associated with DAM; around 16% derived from mortality and the remainder from direct medical costs of treating DAM. The total burden was highest in COPD and depression, while the burden per malnourished individual was highest in CRC and CHD.
Conclusion: DAM exacts a large burden on American society. Therefore, improved diagnosis and management of community-based DAM to alleviate this burden are needed.
Keywords: burden of disease; community-based; disease-associated malnutrition; malnutrition; quality of life; quality-adjusted life year.
© 2014 Abbott Nutrition.