February 1, 2018
CHICAGO – Medical nutrition therapy provided by registered dietitian nutritionists is effective in improving medical outcomes, quality of life and reducing costs for adults with prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes, according to a newly released position paper from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
"Registered dietitian nutritionists play a critical role in delivering weight management medical nutrition therapy to help adults prevent or manage prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes, both of which are associated with obesity," said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy Spokesperson Vandana Sheth.
"RDNs are uniquely educated and have the training and ability to provide individualized care based on a person's needs, abilities and resources," says Sheth. "By working collaboratively with health care providers, we improve health outcomes for our patients."
According to the Academy's position paper "The Role of Medical Nutrition Therapy and Registered Dietitian Nutritionists in the Prevention and Treatment of Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes," which has been published in the February issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that for adults with prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes, medical nutrition therapy (MNT) provided by registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) is effective in improving medical outcomes, quality of life, and is cost-effective. MNT provided by RDNs is also successful and essential to preventing progression of prediabetes and obesity to Type 2 diabetes. It is essential that MNT provided by RDNs be integrated into health care systems and public health programs and be adequately reimbursed.
In the United States, an estimated 35% of adults have obesity, 33.9% have prediabetes and 12.2% have diabetes, according to the Academy's position paper. In 2012, the estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes cases in the U.S. was $245 billion, a 41% increase from an estimated $174 billion in 2007.
The Academy's systematic review of cost-effectiveness of medical nutrition therapy indicated that "lifestyle interventions for diabetes prevention were cost effective in terms of cost per quality-adjusted life years gained compared to pharmacotherapy or no intervention" the position paper states. Studies reviewed by the Academy suggest it would be financially beneficial for Medicare and other payers to cover medical nutrition therapy for adults with prediabetes.
The Academy's position paper was written by Kathaleen Briggs Early, PhD, RDN, CDE, Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences; and Kathleen Stanley, MSEd, RD, LD,CDE, BC-ADM, MLDE, Baptist Health Lexington (Ky.).
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy online.