Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Commends Legislation to Increase Access to Care for Prediabetes
November 7, 2023 – The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics commends U.S. Sens. Gary Peters (Mich.) and Shelley Capito (W.Va.) for their leadership in championing the Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act, which aims to prevent cases of diabetes and reduce related health disparities in the Medicare population.
“Access to scientifically supported medical nutrition therapy interventions by registered dietitian nutritionists for people at risk or living with diabetes could prevent and reduce complications while improving millions of Americans’ health,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Lauri Wright, the Academy’s 2023-2024 President.
Diabetes is the most expensive chronic disease in the U.S. In 2019, an estimated 96 million adults — or one in three — were reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as living with prediabetes, more than 26 million of which were 65 or older.
Medicare covers screening for participants with Type 2 diabetes and medical nutrition therapy for those with diabetes, but not those with prediabetes. “Passage of the Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act would ensure Medicare participants with prediabetes or with risk factors for diabetes can receive medical nutrition therapy by a registered dietitian nutritionist,” Wright said. “Equitable access to MNT provided by an RDN can help stop prediabetes from developing into Type 2 diabetes, improving people’s health and cutting costs.”
If unchecked, diabetes can lead to serious complications, including heart disease, kidney failure and death. The CDC reports diabetes is the eighth-leading cause of death in the U.S., with ethnic and minority populations experiencing disproportionate rates of illness and death.
A recent study by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirmed the value of registered dietitian nutritionists and the effectiveness of medical nutrition therapy in addressing prediabetes. MNT was found to be effective in improving glycemic outcomes, body measurements such as weight and waist circumference, blood pressure and most lipid levels. The study also underscored the important role MNT plays in improving cardiometabolic risk factors in adults with prediabetes.
“The Academy thanks Sens. Peters and Capito for championing America’s health with the reintroduction of the Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act,” Wright said. “The Academy calls on Congress to pass this important bill to ensure Medicare participants with prediabetes have access to the care they deserve.”
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