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American Dietetic Association survey: Healthcare system should focus on nutrition


WASHINGTON Nearly 96% of primary care physicians believe the nation’s healthcare system should place more emphasis on nutrition to treat and manage chronic disease, according to a new survey.

Based on the 400 physicians surveyed, primary care physicians were almost unanimous in their belief that nutrition is a key role in chronic disease.

“Nutrition is more than just eating a healthy diet; for patients with chronic disease nutrition acts as therapy to help them heal faster, respond better to medical care and control their disease,” said Jane V. White, PhD, LDN, RD, FADA, with the department of Family Medicine at the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, who partnered with the American Dietetic Association on the survey.

Nearly half of all adults in the United States have at least one chronic disease and survey showed that physicians believed two-in-three of their adult patients who have chronic disease would benefit from nutrition services. Nevertheless, 80% of physicians admit they refrain from addressing nutrition more frequently as part of chronic disease prevention and management due to the lack of direct reimbursement for nutrition services.

As the focus on healthcare reform and preventative care becomes more concentrated, physicians are pushing for governmental action.

“Registered dietitians and doctors have long known the intrinsic value of nutrition services for their patients,” said registered dietitian Martin Yadrick, MS, MBA, RD, FADA, previous president of the ADA. “It is now important for lawmakers to recognize the benefits as well and include them as covered benefits in health care reform.”

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