In a recent pilot study to determine whether food could help low-income individuals better control their diabetes, UC San Francisco and Feeding America provided an opportunity for food banks and pantries to experiment with ways to consistently deliver healthier food, educate pantry staff and volunteers about the needs of clients with diet-sensitive disease, and to study whether vulnerable people with diabetes were helped in the process. The results, which were not surprising, were better diabetes control and medication adherence, and an overall improvement in the consumption of healthy food.

Diabetes is a growing public health concern in the United Sates, especially for the elderly. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 27% of people age 65 and older already have diabetes and another 50% have prediabetes and are at high risk for the disease without intervention. Diabetes and its complications threaten to overwhelm the nation’s health care system. In 2012, the nation spent $322 billion in healthcare cost on diabetes, an increase of 48% from 2007.

To combat the increase in diabetes, a recent bill assigned to a congressional committee on March 26, 2015, H.R. 1686, the Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act of 2015, aims to reduce the occurrence of diabetes in Medicare beneficiaries by extending coverage under Medicare for medical nutrition therapy (MNT) services to such beneficiaries with pre-diabetes or with risk factors for developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Here at God’s Love, we know, firsthand, the power of MNT to assist in the management of illness, as our 7 Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) perform MNT for every client. Imagine if this wonderful service was available to more people? The Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act of 2015 will strengthen our nation’s efforts to tackle diabetes, both by extending coverage of medical nutrition therapy (MNT) to people who need it, and improving our fiscal health by decreasing what we spend on treating diabetes and its complications.

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