Why Nutrition Matters

Published on: March 2, 2020


Nicole Chenard, MS, RD, LDN, Emerging Dietetic Leader 2020 Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

Major League Nutrition was founded by Nicole Chenard, MS, RD, LDN, award-winning registered dietitian, sports nutritionist, and fitness expert. Nicole provides nutrition counseling & health and wellness coaching & education as well as corporate wellness presentations virtually. Her expertise in counseling and leadership has been awarded by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2020 and Villanova University in 2022 as a result of her leadership in nutrition education and problem solving at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Tufts and more. Nicole also works as a consultant, media spokesperson, public speaker and group educator. Read more about her background here or contact directly. For internship requests, click on the interns page.

Academy members receiving this honor have supported the promotion of optimal health and nutritional status of the public through leadership in legislation, research, education, management, and other areas related to the profession.

Why is this work so important?

Unhealthy eating patterns and lack of physical activity are leading causes of death in the U.S.

It’s expensive to ignore prevention

Costs of preventable diet-related diseases*:

Diabetes8 $245 billion
Cancer18 $216.6 billion
Coronary heart disease9 $204.4 Billion
Obesity20 $190 Billion
High blood pressure19 $46.4 Billion
Stroke19 $36.5 Billion
Osteoporosis9 $19 Billion


* Estimates of annual direct + indirect costs for diseases overall (including portions caused by factors other than diet and physical inactivity), except for the figure for obesity, which is an estimate of direct (medical) costs only.

Health care costs $8,900 per person per year.21  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a 1% reduction in dietary health risks such as weight, blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol risk factors would save $83 to $103 per person per year in medical costs.22

According to the Trust for America’s Health, if obesity trends were lowered by reducing the average adult body mass index (BMI) by only 5%, millions of Americans could be spared serious health problems, and our country could save $158 billion over the next 10 years.23

The amount of money used to fix our nation’s undeniable promotion of an unsustainably toxic food environment is blatantly questionable compared to the investment of money spent to ensure we stay sick.


  1. https://vizhub.healthdata.org/gbd-compare/
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NCHS Health E-Stat: Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity, and Extreme Obesity among Adults, United States, 1960-1962 through 2011-2012. Accessed here on November 3, 2014.
  3. Ogden C, Carrol M. Prevalence of Obesity among Children and Adolescents: United States, Trends 1963-1965 through 2007-2008, 2010. Accessed here on October 2, 2015.
  4. CDC. Childhood Obesity Facts,. Accessed here on December 17, 2014.
  5. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. U.S. Government Printing Office, December 2010.
  6. Bhaskaran K, Douglas I, Forbes H, dos-Santos-Silvia I, Leon DA, Smeeth L. “Body-Mass Index and Risk of 22 Specific Cancers: A Population-Based Cohort Study of 5.34 Million UK Adults.” The Lancet 2014, vol. 384, pp. 755-765.
  7. Xu J, Kochanek KD, Murphy SL, Arias E. NCHS Data Brief: Mortality in the United States, 2012. Accessed here on November 3, 2014.
  8. CDC. National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014. Accessed here on April 30, 2015.
  9. National Osteoporosis Foundation. What Is Osteoporosis? Accessed at on September 11, 2014.
  10. Levine DA, Davydow DS, Hough CL, et al. “Functional Disability and Cognitive Impairment after Hospitalization for Myocardial Infarction and Stroke.” Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes 2014, vol. 7, pp. 863-871.
  11. Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. “Prevalence of Obesity in the United States, 2009–2010.” National Center for Health Statistics 2012, NCHS data brief, no 82. Accessed here on October 2, 2015.
  12. CDC. Vital Signs: Awareness and Treatment of Uncontrolled Hypertension among Adults-United States, 2003-2010. MMWR 2012, vol. 61, no. 35, pp. 703-9.
  13. CDC. National Diabetes Statistics Report: Estimates of Diabetes and Its Burden in the United States, 2014. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  14. Blackwell DL, Lucas JW, Clarke TC. “Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2012.” National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 2014, vol. 10, no. 260.
  15. National Osteoporosis Foundation. 2014 Clinician’s Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis. Accessed here on April 30, 2015.
  16. Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. “Prevalence of Childhood and Adult Obesity in the United States, 2011-2012.” Journal of the American Medical Association 2014, vol. 311, pp. 806-814.
  17. Child Trends Data Bank. Percentage of Children Who Are Overweight, by Selected Groups. Accessed here on November 3, 2014.
  18. CDC. United States Cancer Statistics: Technical Notes. Accessed on April 30, 2015.
  19. American Heart Association (AHA). Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-At a Glance. Accessed here on October 2, 2015.
  20. Cawley J, et al. “The Medical Care Costs of Obesity: An Instrumental Variables Approach.” Journal of Health Economics 2012, vol. 31, pp. 219‐230.
  21. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. National Health Care Expenditures: Aggregate and Per Capita Amounts. Accessed here on October 31, 2014.
  22. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Investing in Prevention Improves Productivity and Reduces Employer Costs. Accessed here on October 31, 2014.
  23. Trust for America’s Health. The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America 2014. Accessed here on November 3, 2014.
  24. The Hershey Company. Form 10-K, 2013. Accessed here.
  25. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Food Dollar Series: Documentation.Washington, DC: USDA, March 2013. Accessed here.
  26. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Food and Alcoholic Beverages: Total Expenditures. Washington, DC: USDA, November 2013. Accessed here.
  27. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). A Review of Marketing Food to Children and Adolescents: Follow-Up Report. Washington, D.C.: Federal Trade Commission, 2012. Accessed here.
  28. Center for Science in the Public Interest. https://www.cspinet.org/eating-healthy/why-good-nutrition-important



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