Addressing the environment outside of hospitals and medical offices continues to be an area of focus. Health systems throughout the United States are examining the impact of food insecurity, access to healthy food, and the food environment on patients’ health. Kaiser Permanente is leading the way with numerous research studies to better understand how to help patients more easily access food that supports their overall health.
In November, Deb Cohen, MD, joined KP International for one of our Power Hours, sharing her work that’s addressing the challenging food environment that exists. Dr. Cohen noted several factors in the food environment that make it difficult for people to make healthy decisions:
- food stores foster impulse buying and eating,
- pervasive advertising highlights nutrient-poor foods,
- food markets open for 24-hours reduce need for planning meals, and
- restaurants offer a convenient, yet often less healthy option for people who have not planned for meals.
To address the challenges that exist for individuals in navigating healthy food choices, Dr. Cohen is leading two studies to test the impact of prescriptive meals.
The first study, Food Prescription, includes providing health meal plans and delivering food needed to make the foods. Meals follow the EAT-Lancet sustainability guidelines for the planetary health diet. Dr. Cohen and her team have led 6 small pilots and are launching a larger 6-month pilot. Early results are promising.
View the recording below to learn more.
The second study is an ambitious approach to manage portion sizes at restaurants. Dr. Cohen is working with Southern California restaurants to create alternative menus that meet calorie guidelines and include vegetables with each meal. These are exciting studies that are creatively addressing ways to support total health.
To follow Dr. Cohen’s work, subscribe to Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation newsletter or visit their website.
Additional Kaiser Permanente studies have focused on prescribing meals post-hospitalization. These studies are evaluating how medically tailored meals could benefit recently hospitalized patients with heart failure, chronic kidney disease and diabetes. We are eager to learn what type of program works best to support patients with chronic conditions. More on these studies can be found here.
As the research continues to grow, and we begin seeing the results from these studies, KP International will continue to share highlights through our Power Hours. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive notifications about these webinars, latest research and other upcoming events.