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Promoting Chronic Disease Prevention in US Health Care

Promoting Chronic Disease Prevention in US Health Care

Culinary Nutritionist Andrea Canada weighs in on the debate surrounding the prevention of chronic diseases in US health care.

Thomas Edison once said:

The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” 

A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine argued in favor of the need for a health care system focused on prevention of chronic diseases rather than solely the treatment of acute conditions. And while the ever-growing discussion supporting chronic disease prevention sounds like something most people would favor, for a variety of economic, political and cultural reasons, the topic still sparks debates. From a policy perspective, many local, state and federal governments have tried to attack the development of chronic disease from all sides with programs to educate the public about nutrition, add more safe parks and well-lit sidewalks to increase the opportunity for physical activity, and improve access to healthy foods, to name a few.

But the focus on an acute care approach has been deeply entrenched in our cultural and social fabric since the beginning of the 20th century when a search for a cure was paramount. I had the privilege to attend a unique conference called Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives, founded by Dr. David M. Eisenberg, which brings together medical professionals with culinary and nutrition professionals to provide healthy cooking lessons that they can then pass along to their patients--a proactive move in the direction of prevention.

As a dietitian, I love to educate people on how a healthy diet can help prevent chronic disease and through my work at SPE Certified, I am even more excited to dispel the myth that a nutritious meal has to sacrifice taste. At the same time that the medical profession’s early adopters are delivering this message of prevention to patients, restaurants and other food service providers can also become part of the solution and improve the nutritional quality of their meals by providing truly nutritious and delicious options to their consumers.

Be sure to check out some of the other entries in our Nutrition 101 blog!

nutrition advice, healthcare, prevention, chronic disease, treatment


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