Creating a stronger body of research on the efficacy and value of clinical Food Is Medicine programs is critical to improving the treatment and prevention of many serious chronic health conditions, according to a new American Heart Association Presidential Advisory published today in the Association’s flagship scientific journal Circulation. Given the significant role that food and nutrition play in supporting health, the American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all, recommends approaches to close gaps in research and build a robust evidence base for increasing adoption of clinical Food Is Medicine programs in the U.S.
An estimated 90% of the $4.3 trillion annual cost of health care in the U.S. is spent on medical care for chronic diseases. Unhealthy food intake is a major risk factor for many of these diseases. Healthy food is not accessible or affordable for many people in the U.S., making it difficult to apply clinical food-based interventions that treat and prevent disease. Recent research demonstrates that health care systems may be able to help patients access healthy foods, resulting in improved health, reduced need for health care and better cost-effectiveness.