Academy Commends Senators Peters, Capito and Kirk for Introducing Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act

June 22, 2016

CHICAGO – The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, commends U.S. Senators Gary Peters (Mich.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) and Mark Kirk (Ill.) for introducing the Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act in the Senate. The Senate bill is identical to H.R. 1686, introduced by Representatives Diana DeGette (Colo.) and Ed Whitfield (Ky.).

Academy policy leaders will meet in Washington, D.C., June 24, urging Congress to pass the Preventing Diabetes in Medicare Act. The Academy represents more than 100,000 food and nutrition professionals throughout the U.S. and the world.

"Nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes," said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Lucille Beseler. "And unfortunately, there is even more reason to be concerned. In 2012, 86 million Americans age 20 and older had prediabetes, which is a state of being at extremely high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. A diagnosis of prediabetes should not be hopeless, as there are proven interventions to prevent and delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes."

One of the most successful diabetes interventions is medical nutrition therapy, or MNT. This important legislation would allow Medicare beneficiaries to receive coverage of medical nutrition therapy for prediabetes, helping millions of Americans receive the services they need and preventing a massive increase in the number of people with Type 2 diabetes.

"Numerous studies support the effectiveness of MNT, showing recipients losing weight and improving blood glucose levels, often without the use of expensive drug therapy. This effective and comprehensive treatment is an evidence-based service performed by registered dietitian nutritionists for disease management, such as delaying and even preventing the onset of Type 2 diabetes," Beseler said.

The use of MNT as an intervention is strongly supported by research and professional organizations. Studies indicate that people who consult with registered dietitian nutritionists and diabetes educators have improved diabetes outcomes and quality of life.

"However, while Medicare covers screening for Type 2 diabetes and covers MNT for individuals with diabetes, it does not cover MNT for individuals with prediabetes," Beseler said. "Without this coverage, many of those with prediabetes are unable to afford services to prevent disease progression."

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The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at eatright.org.