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Food as Medicine is a practice supported by various industry groups and government agencies that aims to heighten awareness and encourage the adoption of nutritious and dietary choices to enhance well-being, prevent ailments and aid in the management of diverse medical conditions in coordination with healthcare providers. 

Below is an excerpt of our “Food as Medicine FAQs” five-page document, which we’ve made free to all readers. Members can access the full document in our Member Resource Library. We hope you enjoy this sample of our expert content. 

What is Food as Medicine? 

Food as Medicine emphasizes the intrinsic link between nutritious food and health, recognizing that high-quality nourishment is fundamental to well-being. Food as Medicine is also referred to as “Food is Medicine” and manifests in various forms, encompassing medically-tailored meals, medically-tailored groceries and produce prescription programs. 

(More on the importance of Food as Medicine in the full document) 

When did this become a trend? 

The “Food as Medicine” concept was officially endorsed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Board of Directors in February 2021. This definition has been included in the academy’s comprehensive list of terms, definitions and key considerations supporting the nutrition and dietetics profession. 

(More on the trend in the full document) 

Who are the stakeholders? 

In a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine, produce-prescription program administrators (e.g., a program manager at a community-based organization), clinicians (e.g., dietitian) and food retailers (e.g., a store marketing director) were identified as important stakeholders. Additionally, those in healthcare law (e.g., a food-policy lawyer), Medicaid managed care (e.g., a director of community programs), government stakeholders (e.g., a health policy analyst), academic research stakeholders (e.g., a university professor) advocacy stakeholders (e.g., an executive director at a non-profit organization, and food retail and produce-prescription program administrator stakeholders were also among those identified. 

Who can benefit from Food as Medicine? 

Everyone benefits from eating healthy food like fruits and vegetables. But especially consumers with preventable chronic disease, such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, poor bone health, hypertension, coronary heart disease, obesity, hepatitis, stroke, cancer, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, COPD and kidney disease, may be of more benefit. However, it is important to remember that food alone cannot cure or prevent disease or infections, according to the University of Nebraska Medical Center. It’s all about living a balanced lifestyle. 

Access the full Food as Medicine FAQs document found in the Member Resource Library, which includes additional questions such as “What are some Food as Medicine initiatives?” “Have any initiatives been successful?” and “Why should health and wellness professionals know about it?” 

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