Sydney, April 3 IANS | 12 months ago

The key to a healthy life is indeed a good diet but it does cost you a hefty price as your health cost may go up as you stay fit and healthy.

A healthy population with lower health costs only holds true when it comes to emergency care, a study shows.

"Well-off people normally followed a healthier diet and took better care of their health needs while those on lower incomes were more likely to cut back on basic needs like food and medication," revealed professor Mark Wahlqvist from Melbourne-based Monash University.

Researchers found that although men and women aged over 65 who ate healthily had shorter stays in hospital, they use other medical services more frequently and tended to make greater use of outpatient services than those who did not follow a healthy eating regime.

"A diverse diet can be quite costly, which can lead to food insecurity for low socio-economic groups who cannot afford it," Wahlqvist added.

Economic factors played a key role in the development of health policies but the medical costs of diet-related and nutritionally related diseases were rarely given attention.

His findings have important bearings for nutrition-related health service policy given that most countries are facing increased medical expenditure as their population ages.

"Such a policy should pay close attention to socially disadvantaged groups with poorer dietary quality," Wahlqvist commented.

(Posted on 03-04-2014)

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