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J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Dec;110(12):1840-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2010.09.013.

Cost-effectiveness of medical nutrition therapy and therapeutically designed meals for older adults with cardiovascular disease.

Author information

1
Department of Economics, Belk College of Business, University of North Carolina, NC 28223-0001, USA. jtroyer@uncc.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Many older adults experience hyperlipidemia and hypertension, but there is little information about whether medical nutrition therapy (MNT) or therapeutic meals have independent or joint beneficial effects on older adults with these diagnoses.

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the cost-effectiveness of MNT and therapeutic meals for older adults with hyperlipidemia and/or hypertension.

DESIGN:

A 1-year prospective four-arm controlled randomized community-based clinical trial.

SUBJECTS/SETTING:

Participants were people ages 60 years or older residing in community settings who were medically diagnosed with either hypertension or hyperlipidemia. They were recruited through a number of venues beginning in May 2003.

INTERVENTION:

The 321 eligible individuals were assigned to one of four arms: (a) a literature control group, (b) a therapeutic meal group that received seven diagnosis-appropriate therapeutic meals a week, (c) an MNT group, and (d) an MNT-plus-therapeutic meal group.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

The outcome measure was quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs). Costs included both intervention and medical costs.

STATISTICAL ANALYSES:

Estimations of separate models of costs and QALYs facilitated the construction of incremental cost-effectiveness ratios. Net benefit analysis produced the probability that each intervention was cost-effective given different values for society's willingness to pay for a QALY.

RESULTS:

Therapeutic meals are cost-effective. Using the net benefit approach and a willingness to pay of $109,000 per QALY, the probability that the therapeutic meal delivery program is cost-effective is 95% and for MNT the probability is 90%. However, the combination of MNT and therapeutic meals did not have an independent significant effect on QALYs.

CONCLUSIONS:

Results inform the debate about extending Medicare funding for MNT to individuals with hypertension and hyperlipidemia. Future research should include more individuals who are not currently receiving medications for these diseases.

PMID:
21111094
DOI:
10.1016/j.jada.2010.09.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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