EB 2016 San Diego

Yogurt would have public health benefits for Diabetes management

San Diego Convention Center

There is persuasive evidence that dairy food and especially yogurt consumption is associated with a reduced risk of T2D. Professor Andrew M. Prentice (Director of the MRC International Nutrition Group based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine) presented the potential economic impact of this positive relationship.

Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is a growing health problem worldwide. It puts a heavy burden on health care systems in a context of increasing pressure on resources. According to Andrew Prentice, the total costs on National Health Service (NHS) databases in UK represent £24 billion annually on health care and future projections estimated that total costs shall rise to £40b by 2035. Therefore, anything that can prevent people from developing T2D has the potential to save money and sustain Healthcare systems.

From science to modelization

Several studies have independently reported that higher yogurt consumption is associated with lower risk of T2DM with a meta-analysed hazard ratio of 0.82. This outcome has been used to investigate the reduction in T2DM health care expenditure that might be achievable through modest increases in yogurt consumption across the UK adult population. In details, the authors modeled the possible reductions in prevalence of T2DM and its associated health costs achievable through increasing yogurt consumption in UK adults from the current mean of 20g/d to 125g/d (equivalent to one pot). National age-specific prevalence rates were used to estimate the likelihood of people entering the model and age-related incidence rates for comorbidities were used to generate individual patient histories. Costs were applied for T2DM management costs, and the hospital and outpatient costs of treating T2DM-related complications. The perspective was that of the UK NHS, the time horizon was the patient’s lifetime. Health consequences of yogurt intake on quality-adjusted life years (QALY) were also calculated.

£2.3 billion over 25 years

Using highly conservative assumptions, Prentice’s team predicted that both mean savings to the NHS from reducing T2DM and related complications, and their treatment, as well as a gain of QALYs would be considerable. Actually, substantial savings to the UK could be achieved on National Healthcare Service: approximately £2.3 billion over 25 years (equivalent to 388,000 fewer cases of T2D). Moreover, a significant gain in quality of life might be achieved : 275,000 QALY’s gained and NHS would be prepared to pay £5.5bn for this gain. Prentice reached the conclusion that the promotion of yogurt consumption could, in the long term, contribute to a reduction in the prevalence of T2D, the associated burden of disease and related health costs. Therefore the potential public health impact of regular yogurt consumption through reducing T2DM and related health care expenditures would relieve pressure on the health care infrastructures.


  • Current data suggest that the promotion of yogurt consumption could, in the long term, contribute to a reduction in the prevalence of T2D
  • Reducing the risk of developing T2D through increased yogurt consumption would relieve pressure on the health care infrastructures