An investment in innovation at the UNC Nutrition Research Institute helps ensure a healthier future for people of all ages and positively impacts our national economy as scientists discover nutritional solutions to prevent and treat chronic diseases.

Contributions fund critical research to help individuals affected by cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity-research that leads to an improved quality of life.

Support of our bold mission of developing the field of individualized nutrition will help lower costs to society as chronic diseases are prevented or better managed. From The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “As a nation, 75% of our heath care dollars goes to treatment of chronic diseases. These persistent conditions-the nation’s leading causes of death and disability-leave in their wake deaths that could be prevented, lifelong disability, compromised quality of life and burgeoning health care cots.

“Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stoke, account for more than one-third (33.6% of all U.S. deaths. In 2010, the total costs of cardiovascular diseases in the United States were estimated to be $444 billion. Treatment of these diseases accounts for about $1 of every $6 spent on health care in this country.” Heart disease and stoke are the first and third leading causes of death for men and women in America.

Another report from the CDC finds: “In 2008, overall medical care costs related to obesity for U.S. adults were estimated to be as high as $147 billion. People who where obese had medical costs that were $1,429 higher than the cost of people of normal body weight.”

In 2007, the Milken Institute and Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease released a study,  An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease, which calculated the annual economic impact of seven chronic diseases (cancer, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, pulmonary conditions and mental illness) at $1.3 trillion. $1.1 trillion of the total represents lost productivity.

Kevin M. Murphy and Robert H. Topel, authors of The Value of Health and Longevity, write, “The potential gains from future innovations in health care are also extremely large. Even a modest 1 percent reduction in cancer mortality would be worth nearly $500 billion.”

Staggering health care costs linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity underscore the urgent need for innovative research into the field of individualized nutrition. Investing in scientific exploration will yield nutritional answers that alleviate disease and will result in better health for people everywhere.

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