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Cost Eff Resour Alloc. 2009 Apr 14;7:7. doi: 10.1186/1478-7547-7-7.

Single food focus dietary guidance: lessons learned from an economic analysis of egg consumption.

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Exponent, 1800 Diagonal Road, Suite 300, Alexandria, VA 22314, USA.



There is a large body of literature evaluating the impact of various nutrients of eggs and their dietary cholesterol content on health conditions. There is also literature on the costs of each condition associated with egg consumption. The goal of the present study is to synthesize what is known about the risks and benefits of eggs and the associated costs from a societal perspective.


A risk apportionment model estimated the increased risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) attributable to egg cholesterol content, the decreased risk for other conditions (age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataract, neural tube defects, and sarcopenia) associated with egg consumption, and a literature search identified the cost of illness of each condition. The base 795 case scenario calculated the costs or savings of each condition attributable to egg cholesterol or nutrient content.


Given the costs associated with CHD and the benefits associated with the other conditions, the most likely scenario associated with eating an egg a day is savings of $2.82 billion annually with uncertainty ranging from a net cost of $756 million to net savings up to $8.50 billion.


This study evaluating the economic impact of egg consumption suggests that public health campaigns promoting limiting egg consumption as a means to reduce CHD risk would not be cost-effective from a societal perspective when other benefits are considered. Public health intervention that focuses on a single dietary constituent, and foods that are high in that constituent, may lead to unintended consequences of removing other beneficial constituents and the net effect may not be in its totality a desirable public health outcome. As newer data become available, the model should be updated.

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