These days, there are so many kinds of diseases that wreak havoc on the health of many individuals. Diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, and kidney diseases are affecting a lot of people. Eating the wrong kinds of foods is the biggest driver of illness in the United States. In fact, two-thirds of Americans are considered obese. Unfortunately, the traditional health-care system has never done enough to solve the ballooning problem. Conventional treatments of these diseases usually include taking in medicine. But while conventional medicine may help, many healthcare professionals are now trying other cost-effective approaches: food & lifestyle.
The Right Diet Can Create Better Health
Creating the right diet for patients has been shown to improve health outcomes. A program in Massachusetts designed a way to support the nutritional needs of low-income patients suffering from heart failure by providing healthy foods to reduce the risk of kidney diseases or diabetes. The organization called Community Servings provides 10 ready-to-eat meals to the homes of patients. All meals are tailored to fit the medical needs of the patients. All meals are created by registered dietitians.
This particular program was studied, and results showed that those who received medically tailored meals have 50% fewer hospitalizations as well as 72% fewer admissions in nursing facilities. The program resulted in a 16% reduction in terms of health-care costs. With the success of the program, Community Servings was able to cater to 2,300 patients.
More People and Organizations Embracing the Movement
Putting together the right tailored meals can be a complex thing to arrange according to Seth A. Berkowitz, lead author of the study. The meals cooked by Community Servings can greatly help patients to get the right nutrition that they need. Another program similar to Community Servings was established in Pennsylvania that caters to diabetic patients. The patients receive nutritious foods weekly with the goal to reduce their HbA1c levels – a diabetes marker.
While the two initiatives were successful among the low-income earners, the effects are not clear for the more affluent patients. Nevertheless, the results of the study are eye-catching for everyone. Many lawmakers are now adapting the program. Recently, California launched a 3-year project worth $6 million to improve the nutrition of the Medicaid recipients of the state particularly among patients who suffered from heart failure.
In New York, low-income patients suffering from high blood pressure can join the program called Pharmacy to Farm wherein they can get their medicines at select pharmacies as well as buy produce from accredited farmers all over the city with promised rebates.
The thing is that local efforts to bring healthier foods to the people can help improve health not only for sick people but for everyone. Hippocrates once mentioned to his patients to “let food be thy medicine” and we are recently embracing this movement to help curb the health crises in the country. Letting food be their medicine is a more sustainable means of battling diseases.
Inspired by www.washingtonpost.com/health