Chronic diseases — such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and arthritis — are the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Poor nutrition is one of the four modifiable health risk behaviors responsible for chronic disease development and severity.
Prevention is the most effective, affordable way to reduce risk for and severity of chronic disease. The Department of Health and Human Services' National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy is based on four pillars of prevention: building healthy and safe communities; expanding quality preventive services in both clinical and community settings; empowering people to make healthy choices; and eliminating health disparities. Our members are leaders in delivering preventive services.
As secondary and tertiary prevention, medical nutrition therapy is an effective disease management strategy that lessens risks from chronic disease, slows disease progression and reduces symptoms. Cost-effective interventions that produce a change in personal health practices are likely to lead to substantial reductions in the incidence and severity of the leading causes of disease in the U.S.
Academy members are committed to improving the health of racial and ethnic populations through effective nutrition policies and programs that eliminate health disparities. Racial and ethnic minorities are in poorer health, suffer worse health outcomes, and have higher morbidity and mortality rates. Through Academy members' research, teaching and community outreach to provide nutrition services, the disparity margin can be narrowed.