Can You Change Your Health Through Medically-Tailored Diet Delivery?
Though the concept of using food as medicine is not new, can medically-tailored diet delivery really change health for the better? Find out how progressives and advocates are working together to solve the concerns linked to chronic diseases.
It's all too common… A recent diagnosis of type II diabetes justifies an antihyperglycemic agent often in pill form. But imagine this alternative: Rather than being prescribed to a pill, there is an advisory to eat a diet tailored to manage blood sugars.
Whereas using food as medicine is practiced amongst pioneers and devotees of nutrition, can health really change through medically-tailored diet delivery? Progressives and advocates of healthcare vouch 'yes' and are working together to solve the concerns linked to chronic diseases.
The Growing Problem:
Chronic diseases are negatively impacting the health of America's people and economy.
According to the National Health Council, an astonishing 133 million Americans (approximately 40 percent of the U.S. population), are living with a chronic disease and almost a third of the population lives with multiple chronic conditions. Even more overwhelmingly, that number is projected to grow to an estimated 157 million by 2020!
Strikingly, more than 75 percent of all health care costs are due to chronic conditions, including the four most expensive: heart disease, cancer, mental disorders, and pulmonary conditions. Chronic diseases have a total impact on the economy of $1.3 trillion annually, with this number only expected to increase to $4.2 trillion by the year 2023.
But when there is a problem, there is often a solution, even if it means playing with our food…
Improving health outcomes through the provision of medically-tailored food delivery diets.
Poor nutrition is a leading cause of chronic illness. But unlike fixed genetics and inevitable aging, diets can be modified to prevent or improve chronic health conditions.
However, a factor that needs consideration is associated to immobility and lack of access to food. Without resolution, these issues manifest in hardships acquiring groceries and preparing meals and subsequently, worsening the health condition.
But the connecting piece between food and its inaccess is delivery. Opportunely, a number of programs and organizations have made significant strides in not only providing food delivered to home, but improving health outcomes of its receivers.
Common medically-tailored diet delivery programs include, but are not limited to, Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA) and Community Servings.
At their core, these programs deliver to members suffering from various acute and chronic health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, malnutrition, and kidney failure. Furthermore, Community Servings provide nutrition services to both individuals and their families living with critical and chronic illnesses.
These nutrition programs aim to help clients maintain their health and dignity and preserve the integrity of their families through free, culturally appropriate, home-delivered meals, nutrition education, and other community programs. In addition to receiving three meals a day for seven days a week, nutrition counseling and comprehensive care management enables the recipients to manage their illness independently.
But can health really change with medically-tailored food delivery diets?
Absolutely! And the numbers speak for themselves. In fact, a 2013 study of MANNA's client outcomes indicate the following:
• Average monthly health care costs of the MANNA client group overall was 28 percent lower in the six months following initiation of MANNA services compared with the six months prior to beginning services.
• The average monthly health care costs were 31 percent lower in the MANNA client group versus the comparison group.
• Not only was the length of stay 37 percent shorter for the MANNA client group, but the number of admissions was half that of the comparison group.
• Following discharge, the MANNA clients group was 23 percent more likely to be discharged to their homes rather than to a long-term care or sub-acute rehabilitation facility.
• According to HPP's latest report, statistics show lower blood glucose levels for 26 percent of diabetic members and and decreased inpatient admissions, emergency room (ER) utilization, and primary care physician (PCP) and specialist visits in the six months after the program.
To gain insight and the perspective of healthcare providers, researchers interviewed and surveyed case managers, nurses, physicians, etc. who referred clients to Community Servings' services. The results from "Food as Medicine" indicated the following:
• About 95 percent of healthcare providers believed the home delivered meals program improved the health of clients.
• Approximately two-thirds of survey respondents believed the meals program resulted in decreased hospitalizations and 94.1 percent believed the meals program improved clients' access to healthy food.
• Seventy-two percent believed the meals program increased clients' knowledge about healthy food and good nutrition.
• Overall healthcare workers were satisfied with the program, with 100 percent "very likely" or "fairly likely" to refer clients to Community Servings in the future.
These statistics validate medically-tailored meals allows those living with a chronic disease to maintain a healthy body weight, withstand side effects of treatments, improve immune function, and enhance quality of life, while lowering overall healthcare costs associated to care and treatment of the illness.
Furthermore, the conducted interviews open the conversation using food as medicine and encourages vital healthcare professionals to be advocates for their patients and medically-tailored meal diets.
Receive Medically-Tailored Meals Delivered to Your Home
If interested in receiving medically-tailored food delivered to home, there are valuable opportunities right at your fingertip. But when choosing a service, be sure to confide in a program backed by science and supported by healthcare professionals.
Also look for available specialty programs, including gluten-free, heart-healthy, and diabetic food delivery options. Meals should ultimately be well-balanced, yet customizable to meet individualized needs and preferences. But in addition to being nutritionally-adequate, meals should be prepared with the freshest ingredients and bursting with flavor!
Truly, with a top-notch medically-tailored diet delivery service, you should never have to sacrifice flavor for adequate nutrition!