Manna Meal Delivery

Prescribing and Delivering Better Nutrition

Applying the science of health outcomes research to social determinants of health is bringing surprising insights. In fact, for chronic diseases like obesity, heart failure, and diabetes, delivering better nutrition might do more than merely prescribing medicine can. Also, it seems to seems to offer good value for money.

Food Is Medicine?

This catchphrase sometimes attaches itself to medical nutrition therapy. But we have some reservations about that particular phrase. Only because food is better than medicine. It’s nourishment. It feeds body and soul. Food gives pleasure and plays a role in social rituals. It’s so much more than medicine.

Nonetheless, it’s becoming clear that providing better nourishment – even delivering meals – does a lot to bring better health outcomes. So while food is not really medicine, the nascent field of culinary medicine has a lot to offer.

Delivering Medically Tailored Meals

A growing body of evidence points to better health outcomes and lower costs from delivering medically tailored meals. In one study, Seth Berkowitz et al found better diabetes control with meal delivery. Unsurprisingly, meal delivery provided better dietary quality, too.

In a separate study, Berkowitz found lower costs and fewer hospital admissions for Medicare and Medicaid patients receiving medically tailored meals. But the implications are much bigger than costs. Bernard Lewin, Chief Medical Officer for Aetna Better Health, explained it to the New York Times with an example:

Someone who has congestive heart failure has a limited ability to do any work, and I mean walking up a flight of stairs. By addressing dietary elements to address that condition, they’re now able to get out of the house, but that improvement doesn’t show up on any spreadsheet.

So delivering better nutrition is one way to address a key social determinant of health. What’s more, it looks like a very smart way to do it.

Click here for more from the Times on dealing with chronic diseases by delivering better nutrition.

MANNA Meal Delivery, photograph © Kendl123 / Wikimedia Commons

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October 24, 2019