EATING PROPERLY can lead to less health care spending. My wife, who is both a nutritionist and a food scientist/technologist, is a firm advocate of healthy eating of natural food and products, with no artificial additives.

Studies have shown that the so-called medically tailored meals can be effective in treating diabetes and, in some cases, even more effective than prescription drugs. The meals also have been shown to lower health care spending by reducing visits to hospitals. The savings were in addition to the improvements in overall health.

In the States, an estimated 37.3 million people — more than one in 10 — have diabetes, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This includes an estimated 8.5 million who have diabetes but are undiagnosed.

The disease can be managed and controlled at least partly through changes in lifestyle. The meals in the Food for Health program, for instance, are low in sugar, carbohydrates, fat and salt.

The program taught the participants the value of eating healthy as opposed to focusing on losing weight. They learned that they do not get as hungry, for instance, when the meal includes protein, such as salad with chicken.

The Dohmen Company Foundation worked with Food is Medicine Coalition to develop the meals and program. The organization launched a program to provide technical assistance and training to nonprofit food agencies that were interested in preparing and delivering medically tailored meals to people, particularly to people who have low incomes, who have diabetes, kidney disease, heart failure and other medical conditions.

The “Food is Medicine” Coalition’s goal is to expand access to medically tailored meals nationwide and to have Medicare and state Medicaid programs cover the meals the same way they cover other health care costs.

The Dohmen Company Foundation has spun out Food for Health as a separate nonprofit organization. It also has started a for-profit company — the Food Benefit Co. — that hopes to contract with employer health plans to provide healthy food and an array of wellness services, including medically tailored meals, for employees. Profits will go to support the foundation’s philanthropy.

All this took place after the conversion of the Dohmen Company in 2019 to a so-called philanthropic enterprise in which its profits would support its charitable giving.

What a nice concept to benefit a lot of people. I wonder if this idea can be advocated in other countries. By Manny Palomar, PhD (EV Mail April 3-9, 2023 issue)