The Situation


  • As of 2012, nearly half of all adults—117 million people—had one or more diagnosed chronic conditions. One in four adults had two or more diagnosed chronic conditions. [1]

  • Seven of the top 10 causes of death in 2014 were chronic diseases. Two of these conditions— heart disease and cancer—together accounted for nearly 46% of all deaths. [2]

  • Nearly 25,000 Americans each week (4,000 Americans each day) are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

  • According to the CDC, trends indicate that one in three children born in 2000 or thereafter will be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in their lifetimes, one in two for Hispanic children.

  • Fifty years ago, two million Americans had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes; today, estimates are as high as 160 million who are pre-diabetic or have already been diagnosed with this degenerative condition that’s a preventable food-borne illness—often treatable and even reversible with prescriptive Lifestyle Medicine intervention. [3]

  • According to the WHO, 80% of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes and 40% of cancer could be prevented - primarily with improvements to diet and lifestyle.

  • According to the Global Burden of Disease report, as of 2013 unhealthy diet was the biggest contributor to 678,282 deaths annually in the United States.


  • The U.S. currently spends $3.67 trillion on healthcare on an annual basis. In 2018 this is 19.5% of the U.S. GDP (in 1960 it was 5%). [4]

  • Eighty-six percent of the nation’s annual health care expenditures are tied to the treatment of chronic disease and mental health conditions. [5]

  • Of the chronic physical conditions, the majority are rooted in unhealthy lifestyle behaviors.

  • Based on current trends, by 2023 chronic disease cases will increase by 42 percent, to 230 million, costing $4.2 trillion in treatment and lost economic output. [6]

  • Total annual cardiovascular disease costs to the nation averaged $316.1 billion in 2012–2013. Of this amount, $189.7 billion was for direct medical expenses and $126.4 billion was for lost productivity costs (from premature death). [7]

  • According to the American Diabetes Association’s Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2017, the average medical expenditure for people with diagnosed diabetes is about $16,750 per year, of which about $9,600 is due to diabetes.

  • The medical expenditures of people with diabetes are approximately 2.3 times higher than expected costs if they did not have diabetes. [8]

  • The total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes just in 2017 was $327 billion. This includes direct medical costs and decreased productivity. Decreased productivity includes costs associated with people being absent from work, being less productive while at work, or not being able to work at all because of diabetes. [8]

  • After adjusting for inflation, economic costs of diabetes increased by 26% from 2012 to 2017 due to the increased prevalence of diabetes and the increased cost per person with diabetes. [8]

  • Employers foot a hefty bill for the cost of disease. The top five chronic conditions (obesity, hypertension, physical inactivity, smoking and diabetes) cost employers a total $36.4 billion. [9]


  • The average physician reportedly receives 19 hours of nutritional education in medical school.

  • Of the 171 medical schools in the United States, it is estimated that only four have a nutrition department.