‘Whole-of-Government’ Approach Needed for Diet-Related Illnesses, Senator Says

WASHINGTON — The United States needs a “whole-of-government” approach to addressing diet-related illnesses, Senator Cory Booker (DN.J.) said Wednesday at a Senate hearing on food as medicine. .

“Currently, half the population in the United States has pre-diabetes. [or] I have type 2 diabetes,” said Booker, chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry for Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics, and Research. His quarter of his teens today have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. A lot of that can be attributed to the amazing fact that ultra-processed foods now make up two-thirds of the calories in a child’s or teen’s diet. ”

Wellness based system

Booker, a vegan who gave up added sugars for two months last summer, said, “In September, the White House launched a bold blueprint to end hunger, improve nutrition and reduce the prevalence of diet-related diseases. National Strategy Continues to Research and Expand Food as Medicine Programs, Including Funding Pilot Programs to Integrate Medically Modified Diet and Nutrition Counseling into Medicare and Medicaid Programs It’s a call to do. ”

Booker added that encouraging farmers to grow fruits and vegetables at the same level that the federal government supports the production of commodity crops is “a top priority for me in the Farm Bill.”

Senator Mike Brown (Republican), a key member of the subcommittee, recalled running his family’s truck parts distribution company. happiness. For example, employees were offered free biometric screening.

The wellness program continues to perform well today, he added. [health insurance] Premiums have risen in 15 years, and now that we’re consumers of health insurance, we have less deductibles than we did back then. In a nutshell, that’s what we need to do more broadly across the country. ”

However, many people, especially low-income earners and those living in “food deserts” where healthy food is not readily available, struggle to obtain healthy meals and fresh fruits and vegetables. “For 20 years I was a part-time primary care physician and hospitalist at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center,” said the founder of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. “Many of my patients suffer from chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure and diabetes, which makes it difficult to find affordable, healthy food,” says director Kevin Volp, M.D. was getting worse.”

Shortcomings of clinical trials

Volpp, who is also a member of the Advocacy Coordinating Committee of the American Heart Association (AHA), said, “Evidence suggests that incorporating food as a medical program into healthcare may be associated with improved outcomes. There is.

However, when it comes to proving the value of food as medicine, “only a few randomized controlled trials have been conducted, and they are usually small and therefore cannot provide definitive answers.” As-drug interventions generally do not incorporate freedom of choice and input from the patient, reducing potential engagement rates.”

“To realize the full potential of food as medicine, we must systematically answer key questions regarding the strength, duration, and delivery of food as a medical intervention; patient preferences and choices. incorporation of educational behavioral strategies or coaching; comparative effectiveness behavior and habit-changing methods, and cost-effectiveness,” Volpp added, adding that the AHA and Rockefeller Foundation have combined to build the National Food as Medicine Research Initiative. You pointed out that you put in $250 million. The organization plans to launch the initiative next spring.

John Bulger, DO, MBA, Chief Medical Officer, Insurance Operations and Strategic Partnerships, Geisinger Health Plan in Danville, Pennsylvania, spoke about the success of the health plan’s Fresh Food Farmacy project. 10 meals each week for yourself and your family. Participants will also receive clinical interventions from care managers, nutritionists, and diabetes education consultants. result? The participants’ average HbA1c levels dropped by half, and hospital emergency department visits decreased by 30% for him, he said.

Bulger gave the example of being 55 years old and 181 pounds. A widowed grandmother named Rita who was the program’s first patient. “she [blood] The sugar was about three times what it should be…and her cholesterol was twice what it should be. After finishing her program, she actually got her blood sugar normal and her blood sugar went down her two thirds.she lost her 50 pounds [reach] She lost 135 pounds and brought her bad cholesterol down from double what it should be to about half of her normal limit. ”

Geisinger is now expanding its program to include additional conditions such as kidney disease and heart failure, he said.

Role of meat and dairy products

Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) said he is working with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-D) to bring milk back to homes. [school] The focus of lunch – especially whole milk. There will be a generation of women who will have osteoporosis and osteopenia in their 40s instead of their 50s because they don’t drink milk in school. ”

He also noted that the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service “recently provided recommendations to WIC. [the Women, Infants, and Children program] This included additional non-dairy alternatives for mothers and children…which I believe goes against the recommendation to increase dairy choices in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. I’m also concerned about “Meatless Mondays” and the impact of reduced protein in people’s diets.

“It’s a complicated question to answer,” Volp said, adding that some meats, for example, are healthier than others. Same goes for it, and while I believe there are healthier alternatives in some cases, it’s very important to have enough protein in your diet, so we need to figure out all kinds of Overall, how do we achieve that, given the number of dietary options available?”

  • Joyce Frieden oversees MedPage Today’s coverage of Washington, including coverage of Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, medical trade associations, and federal agencies. She has been in charge of health policy for her 35 years. follow

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